Post Content

Undersecretary Barbara AnthonyPosted by:
Barbara Anthony, Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation

Losing weight is not an easy task. It takes hard work, diet and exercise. Many people like to think there’s a shortcut to losing weight, and there are plenty of entities out there willing to offer a solution that might be more mythical fountain of youth than legitimate weight-loss helper.

One of the latest trends in weight-loss sales is the “free” trial that is anything but free. In many cases, it comes from companies selling one of the newer fads, Acai berry-based potions.

These companies offer what they say is a “free” trial period, and if you like the product, you’ll be charged for monthly shipments. But that two-week starter pack isn’t really free. Instead, if you don’t cancel after two weeks, you get charged a full month’s cost for the trial period – sometimes $80 or more.

On top of that, you don’t even get the full 14 or 15 days to try the product. Instead, your clock starts ticking when you place your order or your order is shipped from the warehouse – not when you start using the product – shaving days off your trial period. The company grabs your credit-card information upfront to pay for shipping and handling, so it can start billing you for future shipments under the terms of agreement without notifying you.

So, while the effectiveness of most weight-loss products is highly dubious, now consumers also have to be concerned that many of these products are being offered for a “free” trial that can instead be an expensive undertaking.

If you’re buying these products on the phone or online, take the time to get all the details. Search out the terms and conditions on the company’s website, or ask a representative what the terms are. I talked with Channel 5’s Susan Wornick about this issue last week in an interview, and you can find out more by watching that Web-exclusive interview.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Gift Card Tips posted on Nov 23

  Have you ever received a gift card as a present?  Do you know what fees are associated with that card? Do you know when it expires?  Do you know where to report if you have a problem?  Many consumers buy gift cards for others,   …Continue Reading Gift Card Tips

More than 6,600 Mass. consumers to receive refunds in mortgage lending settlement posted on Nov 20

The Massachusetts Division of Banks and 49 other state mortgage regulatory agencies have executed a Settlement Agreement and Consent Order with Prospect Mortgage, LLC. The California-based mortgage company is licensed in Massachusetts and wholly owned by Sterling Partners, a private equity firm. A multi-state examination   …Continue Reading More than 6,600 Mass. consumers to receive refunds in mortgage lending settlement

Department of Public Utilities phone scam circulating in MA posted on Nov 19

  The Office of Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation along with The Department of Public Utilities would like to inform consumers of a phone scam that is affecting Massachusetts residents. Residents are receiving calls from a business that is claiming to be a solar developer,   …Continue Reading Department of Public Utilities phone scam circulating in MA