March 26, 2009
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster is alerting consumers to beware of internet businesses advertising free trial offers for Acai berry products and other nutritional supplements. Koster warns that responding to these "free" offers on the internet poses a substantial risk of excessive charges.
Companies entice consumers by offering a 14-day free trial of the product. According to the offer, unless you notify the company that you do not want to continue to receive the product, and return it during the trial period, it will automatically be sent and charged to you. Consumers are complaining that companies are impossible to contact for a cancellation both during and after the trial period, and their credit cards are automatically charged for an additional month's supply that can cost $80 or more.
"Most of the benefits from these free supplement offers go to the scam artists in the form of healthy incomes at the expense of unsuspecting shoppers," Koster said. "Free offers are a common tactic used by unscrupulous businesses, and should send up a red flag to consumers."
To date, the Attorney General's Office has received more than 100 complaints concerning the deceptive tactics being used by companies marketing the Acai berry products on-line. Consumers can report fraud at Koster's Consumer Protection Hotline, 1-800-8222 or his Web site, ago.mo.gov.