Every year there’s a new cream, pill, drink or fad diet that promises spectacular weight-loss results. Consumers who want to get in shape or lose weight are at risk of being deceived by products that do not work as advertised or come with a host of unwanted side effects.
BBB received more than 700 complaints about weight loss products in 2018. Many consumer complaints described weight loss programs as difficult to cancel. One South Texas victim reported a loss of $90 from a well-constructed imitation website.
Some consumers say they believed they were making a one-time purchase but then received recurring charges to their credit cards for more of the product. When they contacted customer service, they were informed that they had signed up for a subscription, which was only disclosed in the terms and conditions of their original purchase. Other consumers described being notified of an additional shipment of the weight loss product that they did not order. When they tried to contact the company to cancel, the company claimed the item had already shipped.
Here are some tips on avoiding a shady weight loss product:
Determine your fitness goals. Ask your doctor what an achievable weight loss goal for you would be. It’s hard work to lose weight. Find a program you can stick with, preferably one that you enjoy. Does a weight loss plan require you to buy special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn’t meet your needs?
Avoid products that claim to help you lose weight without diet or exercise and be skeptical of claims that you don’t have to give up favorite foods or reduce the amount you consume. Doctors, dieticians and other experts agree that losing weight takes work. Pass up any product that promises miraculous results without any effort. Try filling up on healthy vegetables and fruits so you can resist high-calorie treats. However, eliminating all your favorites could set you up to fail. It’s better to limit portion size or how frequently you indulge.
Be careful with guarantees. There is never a guarantee when it comes to weight loss. There is no magic pill to make you shed pounds. Shady diet supplement companies know that few people will take the time and effort to get their money back so making a money-back guarantee is not a money losing concept. Many companies will not even honor their supposed guarantee.
Be suspicious of ridiculously positive testimonials on the company website. Testimonials become an easy marketing tool and are easily faked. These are often accompanied with glorious before and after pictures.
Read all terms and conditions for any weight loss product you buy. Make sure that you are purchasing only the items you wish to purchase and are not signing up for a subscription unless you want it. Be cautious of any contract that takes payment from your credit card until you cancel.
Check with BBB before you buy any product subscriptions at bbb.org.