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Guide to Refunds from Free Trial Diet Pill Scams

Free trials for diet pills have been a huge problem in the U.S. for a number of years but now the scammers are hitting the U.K. hard. With a fairly untapped market of fresh victims we look at how you can protect yourself and fight back in the war against the conmen.

Avoid free trial scamsWe have had hundreds of people contacting us, mostly after falling for the sneaky tactics these people use to trick you out of your money. In some case it can be nearly $200 per month, which can be a huge financial loss to most people.

The common way is to trick you in to signing up for a “free trial” of a diet pill but then hidden in the small print you have unwittingly signed up for a recurring subscription. They do this by using some tried and tested tactics that lull you into a false sense of security. When you are at your weakest they strike and before you know it you learn a very hard lesson, everything is not always what it seems.

So how can you protect yourself from these scammers, and more importantly if you have been a victim then how can you get your money back.

Number 1 rule: NEVER EVER SIGN UP FOR A FREE TRIAL FOR ANY DIET PILL!

This way you avoid the potential pitfalls completely. 99.9% of diet pill free trials are a scam so this way you know you can’t fall for it.

Do you honestly think these people would be giving away a product for a few dollars shipping out of the goodness of their hearts? Absolutely not, it is well crafted con that has only several winners, but none of them will be you.

Here’s a handy video produced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that explains Free Trial Offers in more detail:

Federal Trade Commission article and video concerning free trial offers

But I’ve Already Been Scammed, What Do I Do Now?

1. Don’t blame yourself

These guys are extremely skilled and have finely crafted a very lucrative con, which makes them millions of dollars every week. As such you have fallen for a sophisticated scam that has affected millions of other ordinary people just like you.

As such do not blame yourself for falling for their tricks and do not take it personally. Try and remove your emotions and look at it in a business like fashion. Of course this is easily said than done but it’s the first step to fighting back.

2. Gather Information

So now you are going to get everything together that you can. Grab a notepad and write down everything you know so far:

  • Company name, address and telephone numbers
  • Company website
  • Any terms and conditions you can find
  • Where did you see the advert (if you can remember)
  • Delivery dates
  • Billing dates
  • All your credit card or bank account details
  • Anything else you can find

This way you now have everything at hand. Keep an on going diary of phone calls, emails and letters you send just in case you might need it later

3. Contact the company

Keep Calm and Carry OnNow that you know you have signed up for the recurring billing the first thing to do is contact the company and explain the situation. This is easily said than done, as normally they make it as hard as possible to cancel, after all this is how they make the vast profits.

There should be a U.K. phone number for support if it is a U.K company, however many of these people outsource the work to call centres. These are usually based in Utah in America, as this is the home of most of the diet pill scams online.

So sit down with a coffee and keep going until you get to speak to someone. We have heard all sorts of stories of being cut off repeatedly, put on hold for long periods, then if you do get through getting passed from pillar to post. This is where you need to keep going, do not give up and keep trying; you may strike lucky and be answered quickly.

Once you manage to get through remember to keep calm. Think business like and despite wanting to maybe scream and shout at them, then whatever you do try and keep control. Speak firmly and in an authorative manner with one eye on the ultimate goal, getting out of this with everything cancelled and your money back.

Simply state the facts, you have been misled into signing up for the trial and wish to cancel with immediate effect. In most cases the person on the other end of the phone is only paid a few dollars per hour as an employee. They are only trying to earn a living working in a call centre so stay polite and firm, and then explain the situation.

They do not usually have the authority to deal with it themselves and normally need to “go off and speak to my manager”, but stay persistent and you should get the answers you are looking for.

These call centres are also targeted on how many refunds they can turn away, so it is better for them to fob you off. But keep at it and you should get there.

4. Cancelling a U.S. Based Free Trial

If it’s a U.S. phone number then they are under some very strict rules from the FTC. Some of the things that might apply to your scenario could be:

  • You got to the offer by clicking on an advert from a fake news site.
  • The fake news site said the trial was completely free.
  • It was implied on the website that the trial was completely free.
  • You had to submit your credit card details before the terms and conditions were shown.
  • The terms and conditions did not appear directly above the submit button.

FTCBecause the FTC are much stricter with what can and can’t be done with free trials there is a much more rigid structure in place. Falling out with them can prove very expensive so the companies will do everything they can to stay off the radar.

You can use this to your advantage, if you find you are getting nowhere then mention that you will be contacting the FTC with immediate effect. Remember this is only for U.S. based free trials.

The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Source: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt008.shtm

In most cases they will cancel the contract and reimburse you the money they have taken. Legally it has to be cancelled anyway, but it can sometimes be a goodwill gesture for them to give you your money back. At this stage, keep calm and remain firm.

One thing on your side is that the FTC is not only going after the companies processing and supplying these diet pills but also the affiliate networks and affiliates themselves who are placing the adverts that lull you in the first place.

As such if you got to the site from one of these fake sites then ultimately the company is paying for these leads, I many cases the company themselves place the fake adverts so its worth pursuing this angle.

5. Cancelling A U.K. Based Free Trial

As we have said before, the U.K. is a new place to target so there’s been an explosion of these trials in recent times.

Although most of the people behind these scams are American, they are now setting up a limited company, usually with hidden addresses. This is so they can avoid potential problems with the FTC in America where they can be liable of fines worth millions of dollars if they are caught.

The U.K. is much further behind and the Office of Fair Trading is only just catching on to what is going on online. There are also much slacker rules about what they can and can’t do and say, but importantly there is one piece of legislation that can be on your side.

This is the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.

This is a very important piece of legislation and in most cases these companies ride completely roughshod over it. One part of it specifically relates to selling online via a website so in our case it fits perfectly.

The onus is for any business selling online to comply with these regulations, which are designed to try and protect the consumer from falling victim to scams. There is a specific “cooling off” period designed to protect customers.

If you buy anything online from a U.K. based company then you are covered under these regulations.

The key here is that they must by law provide you with certain “Prior Information.“ If even one of these things is not done then they are acting illegally.

The information, which MUST be given to, you include:

  • Name and address of supplier (PO Box is no good)
  • Description of the main characteristics of the goods
  • Price including all taxes
  • Delivery costs
  • Arrangements for payment and delivery
  • Existence of a right to cancel
  • Minimum duration of contract
  • Whether you must return the goods if you cancel
  • Conditions to cancel the contract
  • Geographical address to address complaints

All this must be given in a clear and comprehensible manner and must be confirmed in writing. There is specific reference to a “durable medium” which does not include having the terms on the website only.

This can include email, so unless you had a confirmation email after you had placed the order for the free trial, which included all the details in a clear way then the contract is possibly null and void.

Some companies have the terms and conditions on their websites, which must be viewable before you sign up. However they must provide these in writing (email) as well.

So now we know what the company must legally supply, if at any stage you feel that the company has failed to do any of the above then it has breached the regulations and the contract is potentially illegal.

If they are using a PO Box then this does NOT meet the regulations. They must have a valid physical address and not a virtual one.

Rights to Cancel

Under the distance selling regulations, a customer has a right to cancel within a set cancellation period (the cooling down period),

The cancellation period starts on conclusion of the contract.

This is extremely important as it varies as to when you received the additional information they legally had to send you.

If the additional information, clearly setting out the contract, is sent before or at the time of delivery of the goods then the cancellation period is 7 working days, beginning on the day after the goods were delivered.

This is important, as there is usually a delay in sending out the goods on the free trial. In many cases they are not sent until the 14 (calendar) day trial period is up, they then lock you in to the contract. However under the regulations then you still have the 7 working days to cancel.

Most of these free trials will not have sent you the additional requirements in writing as per the regulations.

This is where it gets interesting, because you still have 7 working days if you receive the additional requirements setting out your rights after you receive the goods!

This is catch 22 for the scammers. By failing to send out the additional requirements after you placed the order (by email or in writing) then they have failed to comply with the regulations.

But, if they send them out after you get the goods then you still have 7 working days to cancel.

So what Do I Do Next?

Now that you are aware of the Distance Selling Regulations then this is the time to ring them up requesting a cancellation of the contract. You should also send an email as well.

Explain that you have been misled by the advertising which led you to their website, and that you believe they have not complied with the regulations by failing to provide you with all the information in the contract in writing.

Occasionally they will agree to the cancellation but will only offer say 50% of what you have paid. This also breaks the regulations, as they must pay back everything:

3.48 The DSRs require the business to refund any money paid by or on behalf of the consumer in relation to the contract to the person who made the payment. This means the full price of the goods, or deposit or pre-payment made, including the cost of delivery. The essence of distance selling is that consumers buy from home and receive goods at home. In these circumstances, almost every case of home shopping will involve delivery of the goods ordered and so delivery forms an essential part of the contract.

Source: Office of Fair Trading, Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000

Hopefully this should be the end of it, you should have got a full refund if you follow this through. The rules are there to protect the customer so use them properly. If they do not comply with the regulations and they are a UK company then you are in your rights to report them as well.

Remember, keep calm and stick to your guns.

6. Getting Your Money Back Through The Bank

Credit CardsIf you have approached the companies correctly and they are still refusing to play ball (highly unlikely), then the next step is to approach your bank or credit card company.

You must explain that you have had money taken from your account which you believe is fraudulent.
You can only do this if you believe that the company is in breach of the Distance Selling regulations as we have set out above (for the U.K.) or the FTC Free trial rules for the U.S.

You can not say it is fraud if they have completely followed all the regulations, and it is an oversight or mistake on your part that led you to sign up for the free trial. In this scenario at least you will have got the contract ended but may have lost the money from the first payments.

At this time you will be assigned up for a CPA or Continuous Payment Authority. Your bank will tell you to contact the company to get the payments stopped. Do this in writing and by email (to the company) by requesting that the payment authority is terminated.

However, you have the right to cancel them directly with your bank or card issuer by telling it that you have stopped permission for the payments.

Your bank or card issuer must then stop them – they have no right to insist that you agree this first with the company taking the payments.

Be aware, though, that you will still be responsible for paying any money that you owe, if you have not cancelled the contract.

Again keep calm and stick to your guns, the bank must act in your interest so don’t let them fob you off. If not you can always report them as well to the Financial Services Authority.

Another option is to ask for a “chargeback” for the money that has been taken from your account. The company then has to prove to its own bank (who processed the payment) that it acted 100% legally and complied with all the laws necessary. It must also prove that you were not misled or miss-sold and if it can’t do this then you will have the money refunded.

7. Learn The Lessons

Hopefully you will have managed to extract yourself from this whole mess and can move on with your life.

Remember that 99.9% of free trials are a scam, these people are manipulating people in order to make vast profits for themselves. They have no morals or guilt about what they do so fight them and get your own back! Always keep this in mind when you are dealing with these people, you have the moral high ground.

Please do not confuse all diet pills with these free trials. There are many decent companies offering good products amongst all the rubbish and scams out there. This was why this site came about, to try and offer objective advice on diet pills so that ultimately the consumer gets a good product from a good company at a good price. Please see our list of approved diet pills that we feel you can order without any nasty shocks.

If we can stop one person from signing up to one of these scams, or help one person get their money back after being duped then it will have all been worth it. Please post a link to this page on any forums, Facebook pages and Twitter where this sort of thing is being talked about. Hopefully with some hard work and a bit of luck we can get these horrible free trials finally banned altogether.

Disclaimer: Please do not take any of the above as legal advice. We are not qualified lawyers and as such can’t offer legal advice. We are consumer advocates so are offering our views and opinions from the point of view of the consumer. If you are in any doubt over what you have read, then please get proper qualified legal advice before going any further.

Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.



424 comments on “Guide to Refunds from Free Trial Diet Pill Scams”

  1. D Findlay says:

    I want to thank you for your advise. I fell victim to the scam in 2014. I cancelled the automated subscription. Complained to the company. Blocked further payments with my bank, luckily as Ketone did attempt another payment under another name!! There followed 3 months of emails after requesting a refund providing every despatch note/payment details etc. To no avail and then email address no longer in operation. On finding another email address they then stated as 120 days had elapsed there is nothing they could do. I had lodged my complaint whilst my account with them was still active. They offered a refund of one payment as a good will gesture. On contacting my bank they also hid behind the 120 day rule in spite of having contacted them at a time when the problem was ongoing and had requested a charge back through my bank on the grounds that Ketone had acted illegally, not met regulations etc. They also offered a refund of one payment. Totally dis-satisfied I approached the financial ombudsman who assessed the particulars of my case and a full refund has finally been agreed 18 months after signing up for the original free trial.

  2. i fell says:

    This company is a DIET PILL SCAM. If you fell for the scam, please report it immediately to the FTC:

    Ridge Multimedia Inc
    503 E Jackson St. Suite 153
    Tampa Fl 33602

    Availability : M to F 8am to 8pm EST, Sat to Sun 10am to EST
    855-897-0728
    support@getgarcinia-diet.net

  3. sm says:

    DONT EVER TELL THE BANK THAT YOU ALLOWED THE PAYMENT. THIS WORKS. THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK.

  4. sm says:

    BE CAREFUL. THE COMPANY IS RECORDING EVERYDTHING YOU SAY ON THE PHONE. TELL THEM THAT YOU HAVE BEEN MISLED, AND ASK FOR A REFUND. ASK THEM TO CANCEL ALL YOUR ACCOUNTS. IF THEY DON’T ISSUE A REFUND, CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD, REPORT YOUR CARD AS STOLEN AND THE PAYMENT AS FRAUDULENT AND CANCEL YOUR ACCOUNT AND GET A NEW ONE. GOOD LUCK!!!

  5. sm says:

    CALL YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY. REPORT YOUR CARD AS STOLEN. TELL THEM THE PAYMENT WAS FRAUDULENT, YOU DID NOT AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT. CLOSE YOUR CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT AND GET A NEW ONE. GOOD LUCK.

    1. kk says:

      please do not do that, it will not work. I work for a bank and deal with this everyday.

  6. yo2 says:

    Hello,I’ve also been scammed!!
    I only just came across this website and I am kicking myself for not doing enough research before purchasing the Raspberry Ketone Pro Slim and the Nature’s Answer Cleanse &Detox.
    It was the same none sense, free trial offer, only paid p&p for both. I received the Raspberry about four days after placing my order and the Nature’s answer about three days later. I thought the trial period started when you got the products but a few days later, I was alerted by my spouse that about £180 had been debited from the account for two products.
    I called their customer service number and complained about it. The guy apologised for this mistake and told me my money will be refunded. Two weeks after (yesterday) the money had still not been refunded so I called again and was told based on the fine print/Terms and Conditions I couldn’t get my money back because the 14 day trial period had elapsed so the full price of both bottles was deducted and non-refundable.
    I don’ think they should go scot free I’m hoping to get my money back because I didn’t sign up for this.

  7. blackeagles says:

    my wife responded to a ‘pop-up’ advert on facebook which inferred a ‘trial’ of the pills ‘ultra ketone plus’ and ‘ultra power cleanse’ for a low cost of about £4/£5 each (presumable to cover post and packing). the advert did not state the true cost, the fact that responding to it would enrol her in automatically receiving additional products nor did she receive written confirmation of any details of the contract/cost/cancellation or refund process before receipt of the goods all of which is, i believe, contrary to the uk “consumer protection (distance selling) regulations 2000 (and later amendments).
    i contacted spinzar on 020-3129-4237 and cancelled the contract without any problem (difficult to understand the foreign accent so could not understand all of what was said) but we received a follow up email from them confirming cancellation.

    just to be on the safe side i have lodged a dispute with our credit card company and requested they block any possible future requests for payment. the second supply of pills were returned within 14 days of despatch so the cost charged for them should be refunded.

    i have also spoken to the (uk) citizens advice bureau (cab) – who pass on information to the consumer protection organisation – and lodged a complaint with them on the grounds that the advert on facebook and also the spitzar labs ltd website does not meet the uk regulations for distance selling.
    i was advised that if my case is upheld then i have 90 days to recover the outstanding sums so assuming they agree then i will firstly write to the company for the return of sums applicable to the ‘trial’ and if this has no joy i will consider action in the small claims court.

    I notice the facebook advert seems to have been removed and up until yesterday the spitzar web site was not working but was today so I was able to get sufficient information to make the cab complaint.

    If you have been caught by them (in the uk), firstly cancel the contract by phoning 020-31294237 or emailing customerservice@cleansextrem.com and return any subsequent products within 14 days to the return address on the returns form. Contact your credit card company to block any future payment and dispute the payments already made as they are liable for ‘scam/fraudulent’ payments and may refund the costs to you (as my company have agreed to do). Make sure you also complain to cab on 03454 040506.

  8. Ruby says:

    Please everyone if you must buy pills go to a health food shop or use amazon and pay upfront!

  9. Edith sloss says:

    I fell for the rasberry ketone free trial. Im 64 yr pensioner suffrring arthritis, l needed to lose weight but exercise was limited. I sent off on line for rasberry ketone, and aloe colon cleanse. I received them 2wks laterl l had only tried them for 1 week, when l wrnt to lift money out of bank l discovered £92.38 pence had been taken which is the bulk of my state pension. I rang my bank straight away and the young girl who l spoke to knew right away what l wad talking about, ad the same thing had happened to her. She give me a direct number which she had used and l rang right away and explained thst l was not aware that l had signed up to a monthly scheme as l couldnot afford it on my income. l cancelled any future claims and recieved a cancellation no. I then emailed the customer support dep several times stating that l was very distressed that a huge amount of money had been taken from my bank leaving me with no money to support my self , as l am a widow and live on my own, l asked that the money be refunded back to me ads soon as possible., still several emails later l still not have recieved a refund. This whole situation has left me ill with stress.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Hi, this happened to me last year, they took £175 from me so I know how you feel. I did get it back eventually and would like to help so please send me an email if you like and i’ll let you know how I got my money back. I want as many people as possible to do the same so these companies don’t get away with it. Look forward to hearing from you.

      1. amanda says:

        their took 92 quid yesterday x

      2. Anna says:

        Hi Rebecca, I’ve just been scammed for £85 – the credit card company were limited help. Can you please let me kno how you got it back? Thanks, Anna

      3. Maria says:

        Hi I’ve been scammed bank says they have blocked it but they keep taking money can you help??

    2. Ruby says:

      I am a student but I have tried so hard to lose weight, especially off my thighs. I am a little bigger than I’d like to be and my hormones make it harder for me to lose weight. so I thought about giving this a go and I was right to be sceptical. They took just under £200 from my planned overdraft! They have promised a full refund minus £20 so I returned them recorded delivery yesterday and I’m giving it a few days. I will have to ring the bank fraud department again if they don’t cough up! Just another piece of stress in my life I don’t need. I hope you got your money back! Try phoning the company or the bank fraud department. Unfortunately they try to avoid the law by putting a tiny link at the bottom with terms and conditions. The trial was advertised to be free though! Good luck!

      1. brian steytler says:

        if you bought them with a credit card then the credit card company is jointly and severally liable (under uk law – section 75 consumer protection act) providing the cost of the goods are over £100, otherwise the card company will use what is known as ‘chargeback’ – they recharge the sellers bank for your refund – so they will repay the full amount (but you do need to explain that you did not know the full extend of the terms and conditions which were not clearly set out on whatever web site you used). also if the company (if its in the uk) didnt write/email you after placing the order but before sending the goods then they breach the distance selling regulations so, in theory, no contract between them and you exist as they have broken it consequently they should refund all your mony (dont hold your breath)

  10. Nina Chidgey says:

    I have been caught out. I’m so careful I couldn’t believe it!! I have cancellation notices and have sent copies to my credit card provider. I also have an address, telephone number and email in London on the paperwork sent with the pills, which I kept just in case and copies of my credit card statements. I’ve asked for the money back and told them in no uncertain terms not to request more money from my account. I have forwarded the details to Trading Standards in the hope they can stop this happening to others. Will just have to wait see.

  11. Marilyn Barton says:

    I fell for this scam with Raspberry Ketone and Ultra Cleanse. Sendt for trial and two payments of £89 and £95 were taken from my account shortly afterwards. When I order on website there was no obvious small print or 14-day trial period info. My bank cancelled future debits (bank knew exactly what I was taking about so therefore used to this!). I contacted the company NUMEROUS times and eventually got an an Edinburgh ddress to send pills pack to. Heard nothing for 5 weeks then Royal Mail sent my packages back marked “gone away”. Contacted company again and asked for proper address as the pills had been returned to me. How can an address change from the moment it is given to my sending the pills the same or next day??? Was given another address and reference number as before to put on envelope. Sent them back to second address and they were refunded after a couple of weeks, minus £20 on each transaction (administrative costs!). Never mind the phone calls and double postage they had cost me !! Advice – if posting back, keep postage receipts as proof they were sent in case they insist they have not been received. Do not deal with this company!!

  12. pat parton says:

    I am in the same boat as I paid postage for free trial now on my Barclays card I have been told 2 payments of £92.78 is now on my account Barclay have now cancel the two amounts but i have been asked to phone them with the number on my statement but can not get through any ideas please

  13. Surendra says:

    This is totally frauds they took my money every month about £96 plus without any agreement.

  14. Helen says:

    In the case of Diet Ultima, there is an address given in the Netherlands as follows: Super Ketone Nutraceuticals Limited, Customer Support, Postbus 13, 6670AA ZETTEN, Netherlands. Do the same Distance Selling Regulations apply in this case?

  15. Louise says:

    I feel like a complete moron but thanks to the info provided here I was able to get official cancellation notices through for the 2 products they charged me for.I’m 300 pounds down but at least I will not be charged any more, all I had to do was quote the right to cancellation in their elusive terms and conditions and the distance selling regulations and then threatened to pass my portfolio of correspondence to the relevant authorities in the USA and uk if I did not get a reply by return, 2 hrs later I received cancellation notifications. Hopefully this will help some other people before they loose out to this scam.

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