Acai berry scams are still rife on the internet - Don't get caught out.
Acai berry colon cleanse & life cleanse scams
There are hundreds of websites across the world-wide-web offering what they desribe as 'free trials' of their products or services. What is the definition of a 'free trial'? One would assume it was just that - a chance to try the product or service before committing to purchasing. However, it would seem that unless we carefully read the terms and conditions before hitting the 'send' button, we could end up paying for something that we don't want and without our consent.
Some rogue traders are taking advantage of us by baffling us with page after page of these so-called terms and conditions, a typical example is the Be2dating agency which I joined in good faith for what I believed to be a total sum of £5.00. Another site, which thankfully has been forced to close is 'healthscience', also trading as 'Trading Planet' and 'VIV3labs'. This site offered a 'free trial' of their goods - capsules containing acai berry- which they claimed was an aid to losing weight and general well-being. The company offered a free 14 day trial, but you had to submit your card details to pay for the postage and packaging.
When you don't cancel within this trial period, they use the card details you supplied to pay for the P&P and take money from your account to pay for a further month's supply, which evidently ranged from £75.00 to £150.00 (depending on how many of the products you ordered)
After hundreds of complaints to the Office of Fair Trading and the Consumer Protection department, the company was investigated and it was forced to cease trading.
This is what I found;
Insolvency News reported the following; 'The grounds for winding up the company were that the promotion of the 'free trial' was misleading. Investigators found that websites used by the companies mislead customers into believing the trial offer was risk-free and unlimited in nature. It was also discovered that the terms and conditions were designed to confuse and were not provided in any durable medium. The length of the trial was also not made clear. Customers were provided with a thirty day supply of the product but only had twelve days from receipt in which to cancel any future order.'
So, that got rid of them. Or did it? After typing acaiberry free trial into google I found that another company - which was formed January 2010- is promoting the same product with the exact same free trial offer. leanbodyburn,com are advertising 'DIETMAXCLEANSE' which are the same products as healthscience (tradingplanet and viv3labs) were promoting. It claims to be a UK website, but is now targeting the United States. Again there is a fancy web page with an endless stream of testimonials from so-called satisfied customers. After digging into their Terms and Conditions I found that they are operating a similar scam, whereby if you don't cancel your order within 10 days you will be charged $87 a month for future orders.
I don't suppose these bogus companies will ever be removed completely, and they will continue to prey on the vulnerable and gullible amongst us. All we can do is be vigilant and make sure that before we disclose our bank details to ANYONE online we are fully aware of the terms and conditions.
I don't know enough about acai berry to say whether it is good as a dietary supplement. There are many websites promoting it so I suppose it must have some health benefits. It's just a shame that the scamsters out there are giving it such a bad name.