Acai Berry Scam
Acai Berry Scam
If you would like to take advantage of a free trial offer, great! Just don’t get out your credit or debit card. That’s how so many consumers were scammed into buying more acai berry than they anticipated in the acai berry scam. If a company has your card number, expect to be billed for charges, despite their claims that their products are free. You may be in for more of a trial than you bargained for.
The good news is that if this happened to you, you can probably get the charges reversed if you used a credit card. The bad news is that if you used a debit card, you may have to cancel the card to get the charges to stop. Whatever you do, don’t keep quiet. Be sure to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to report the scam.
What was Promised in the Acai Berry Scam?
“Major weight loss in short periods of time may occur,” according to AcaiPure’s claim. Can you think of a better slogan for selling a bottle of pills? Weight loss studies from the medical community were cited. The Federal Trade Commission’s lawsuit says that AcaiPure does not cause major weight loss, nor does its manufacturer have proof that it does.
In addition to promises of significant weight loss and proof of effectiveness, the manufacturer claimed that AcaiPure had the endorsements by Oprah Winfrey and Rachel Ray. Not true! While acai may have been mentioned on their shows, neither celebrity endorses any specific acai berry product.
How Does the Acai Berry Scam Work?
Pop-up ads appear on your computer screen for a FREE 30-day trial bottle of AcaiPure, a weight-loss product from Central Coast Nutraceuticals (CCN). Just pay $4.95 to cover shipping and handling. Sounds reasonable, right? The deal seems simple: Try it and if you don’t like it, return the bottle and don’t pay anything. But what if the package comes with a bill for $68 that was already charged to your card?
If you loved the product, maybe the charge seems reasonable. However, when some consumers who did not like AcaiPure complained, CCN would not remove the charges. Representatives blamed the buyers: “you did not read the fine print.”
Another warning hidden in the fine print: there would be a 15 percent restocking fee if the product was returned. Of course, before you mail the bottle back, you have to get a return authorization number and pay return shopping. Just try getting that number!
Further, trial bottles had to be returned within 14 days. Some consumers hadn’t even received their free trial bottle before the return date had passed.
But that’s not all! CCN often did not reveal that the company would automatically ship buyers another 30-day supply of the products every month. Those new shipments would be billed at full price to the credit or debit card used to pay for the shipping of the trial sample.
Meanwhile charges continue to be billed…and billed …and billed…
What are Consumers and the Government Doing About the Scam?
The Better Business Bureau has received nearly 3,000 complaints about Central Coast Nutraceuticals in the past few years. The issues? Billing and refunds.
Acai berry weight loss pills (AcaiPure) and colon cleansing supplement (Colopure) sold via the Internet was investigated as a scam. It turned out that the main ingredients in both products were laxatives! The Federal Trade Commission has received a judge’s approval to prohibit the deceptive claims, freeze the company’s assets, and turn CCN over to a court-appointed receiver. Consumers lost tens of millions of dollars, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Perhaps more than a million consumers are affected. Litigation is pending.