A berry important message about acai

August 28, 2009

VIDEO: Nydia Han's latest Consumer Wrap report

The acai berry is marketed as an antioxidant super-food, but you better think twice before signing up for a so-called free sample.

Celebrities like Oprah and Dr. Oz have been known to talk about the health benefits of the acai berry and online ads say it can give you energy, help you lose weight, and even improve your sex life.

Plus, companies claim you can give it a whirl for free!

But when Carol DeBenedictis got her credit card statement at the end of the month, she discovered the company, Advanced Wellness Research, had charged her hundreds of dollars and enrolled her in a program to receive automatic shipments

Leon Tucker of New Castle, Delaware, says he agreed to a 30-day sample of the acai berry from Hybrid 7, for just $3.95 for shipping and handling.

"But it was a total surprise to me when they told me they had charged my account $79.95 for the additional month," Tucker said.

Leon has asked his credit card company to dispute the charge and any future charges from the company.

"These companies are getting, in general, hundreds if not thousands of complaints on an annual basis about their marketing and sales," Andy Goode of the Better Business Bureau said.

For example, the company Carol ordered from has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau 2,074 people have complained about it in the past three years.

Advanced Wellness Research has now been taken over by Netalab. It tells Action News its terms and conditions are clearly stated online.

"Consumers should be aware that for almost all these companies, the free trial period begins with the day they order the products, not the day they were shipped or received by the consumer," the company tells us.

Which means your free trial may be over by the time you get the product and you may have already been charged for future automatic shipments!

So ask specific questions and read the terms and conditions before agreeing to a free sample or trial. Be especially suspicious if you're asked for a credit card to pay for shipping and handling.

Also, medical experts warn the health claims of acai have never even been proven.

And Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz are not affiliated with any of these businesses that sell these products.

In fact, both celebrities have now filed lawsuits against 40 companies for using their name and falsely claiming they endorse certain merchandise.

ON THE NET LINKS: http://mlmblog.typepad.com/files/oprah-vs-monavie.pdf

More money-related links:
Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.