Back in April 2012 we reported on the dietary virtues of a new supplement containing raspberry ketones.
U.S TV Dr. Oz Endorsement
The magic ingredient of the ketones were supposed to burn off fat and the results were so spectacular that renowned U.S TV doctor Dr. Oz put his endorsement behind the product. Subsequently it began selling out in stores and online, both in the U.S and here in the U.K.
How the Raspberry Ketones Scam Works
However, a recent Watchdog programmer reported that online sellers were scamming people who signed up to trying products that contained raspberry ketones. The offers were typically for a trial bottle containing a month’s worth of supplement tablets, and all the customer had to do was pay the postage of £4.95. But people who had signed up were then finding that they had in fact agreed to a continuing payment for a monthly bottle, which they were then charged for. And this was no cheap offer; the charges were £95 a month. So how did these companies manage to get away with it?
An expert on trading standards said that the online websites gave a big clue as to how potential customers were misled. The first page used words such as ‘Limited Offer’, ‘Act Now’, and ‘Don’t Lose This Opportunity’.
These are all terms designed to hurry the customer to make a quick decision into signing up for the trial deal. It is also a tactic in which misdirection is used, in order to lead the customer away from the terms and conditions button, where they would then see what they were really signing up for.
Raspberry Ketones terms and conditions misinformation
On the second page there is conflicting information that states there is a 30-day 100% money back guarantee, but there is also a 14-day guarantee at the bottom of the page.
Again this is to confuse the customer. When you actually read through the terms and conditions, and bear in mind these are printed in very small typeface, you see that the offer is designed that you keep the bottle for 14 days, and only if you send it back within 14 days and cancel your payment are you not then billed for subsequent monthly payments of £95, plus postage.
Raspberry Ketones – No Scientific Evidence it works
The other point to raise is that there is no scientific evidence to prove that raspberry ketones can help with burning fat. The only tests that have been performed were on rodents were it was observed that some mice lost weight after consuming ketones.
In fact, as they have not be proven to burn fat, the Food Standards Agency has declared that they cannot be sold as a dietary aid in the U.S or the U.K, which is why they are typically sold online. As a food supplement they are found as flavour or colour additives, but it is illegal to sell them as a health or diet product.
These adverts often pop up on social media sites such as Facebook, as use well known celebrities, such as Jennifer Saunders, Natalie Cassidy and BBC reporter Ellie Crissell. The problem is that none of these celebrities have endorsed these products and when they try and complain the adverts disappear and then pop up elsewhere.
What to do if caught in Raspberry Ketones Scam
So what can you do if you’ve signed up to what you thought was a free trial and you are now being billed a monthly basis?
Cancel the contract
Find the terms and conditions and cancel your contract. It is best to speak to the company directly rather than email so try and get their contact details.
Contact your bank
If you are unable to contact the company or they wont let you cancel you should contact your bank. Make sure they are aware that you do not want any more payments coming out for this company and see if they will refund you. If the payment is via a credit card contact the card company as you have more rights with them.
Cancel your bank account/debit card
As a last resort cancel your debit card or bank account, it may seem drastic but it is worth it to not have any more payments coming out.
Know your rights
For any purchase online there are certain rules and regulations that must be adhered too. Provision 7 of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 shows what information must be provided by the seller.
If anything is missing from the original offer then you will have the necessary ammunition to get a refund.
Talk on Social Media
- If you have been scammed by any ketone product then get the message out via your Facebook or Twitter page.