Facebook ads could lead to unwanted expenses

via Facebook ads could lead to unwanted expenses | Consumer Watch, clarionledger.com, 4/5/2013.

A New Jersey-based company is in hot water with at least some Mississippi residents, who says the company lured them in with catchy ads promising big results and low risk, but who found out they were on the hook for subscriptions which could end up costing hundreds of dollars.

Keranique, marketed by Urban Nutrition of Hoboken, N.J., promises on its Facebook page that it will “help women get fuller, thicker-looking hair”, and “increases hair manageability, volume and fulness.”

A Facebook ad for the product caught the attention of Tippy Garner of Jackson. Garner was promised a free item when the customer pays the shipping. “The company called to say the item was shipped, and thank you,” Garner explained. So far, so good. However, the rep also informed her that she had been enrolled in a “coupon offer” costing $29.99 per month. When she said she was not interested in the offer, the representative asked her for her credit card number. “He wanted me to give him my credit card number on the phone,” she notes. “I told him I never give out a credit card number to someone who calls me.”

Urban Nutrition sells a variety of products in the “dietary supplement” categories, mostly escaping scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But the company has generated its share of complaints. The Better Business Bureau of New Jersey has logged 272 complaints in the past three years. Online complaint sites also have been racking up customer concerns, with 57 people complaining to Ripoff Report, 25 to Complaints Board and 18 on Scambook. The BBB of New Jersey reports that the company has resolved nearly all of them, although the customers have not always been satisfied with the response. A related company, Longevity, LLC of New York, has its own BBB report, citing 12 complaints.

The company has been cited by the FDA before. In 2005, the FDA sent Urban Nutrition a letter warning them that some of their products were actually drugs, and not dietary supplements as the company claimed.

Interestingly, the company appears to be trying to clean up its image on Google. If you Google “Keranique Scams”, you will get lots of results saying that reports of scams are untrue, or positive testimonials.

At least one other Mississippi consumer, from Vicksburg, has reported problems with the company, but getting geographic information on complainants is difficult. I tried to locate the complainant from Vicksburg, but had no luck.

However, problems of the type Garner reported appear to be quite common, as many customers refer to having automatic subscriptions set up, then having difficulty cancelling them; having to take “store credit” instead of refunds to their credit cards; having the company repeatedly charge their credit cards, after being told to stop; and other concerns. “I would not recommend ‘Get it Free’ on Facebook to anyone,” advises Garner.

If you find yourself with a problem with this or similar issues, contact the company immediately, and keep records of all interactions. If the company does not comply with their promises, file a complaint at www.bbb.org, or contact the Attorney General’s office at www.agjimhood.com.

Above all, before responding to any solicitation, do your homework and remember that if it seems too good to be true, (say it with me…) it probably is.

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