It’s frustrating to see so many new diet pill scams pop up lately. It’s also frustrating to see so many people (or websites) supporting such diet pills by endorsing their products so they can get their cut as well. In light of this frustration, I thought I’d write about one of the most popular scams that’s hit the internet lately: The Autoship.
First of all, what is an autoship program? In it’s basic form, and autoship program is where the company will send you new supplies of their product on regular basis. This makes it so you don’t have to keep ordering the same product every month. Naturally, they will charge your credit card whenever they send new shipments.
Not so bad right? In reality, the idea of the autoship is quite convenient and handy. And when the customer is aware of the program and desires to be a part of it, it is convenient and is a good thing. Where you run into trouble, however, is when companies try to get you to enroll in the autoship without you knowing about it. It’s the way the company uses the autoship that can make it a good thing or a complete scam.
Somewhere along the line, companies (including diet pill companies) found out that they could hide the mentioning of the autoship in the fine print of the ‘terms and conditions’ and virtually no one would know (because not many actually read that fine print) that they were actually agreeing to enroll in the autoship when they made their purchase. And that’s where the scamming started to happen. Imagine their surprise when they started to see what they assumed were fraudulent charges on their credit card. “I didn’t authorize that!” they would say. Oh, but they did. Unfortunately, they did.
I imagine it wasn’t too much later that companies (including diet pills) realized that “free” trials were very popular. So they started to offer these free trials, and again hid the autoship in the terms and conditions. Bingo! They just created a money machine for themselves. And all at the expense of the unsuspecting consumer.
To illustrate some of the one-sided details of some of the classic autoships that I’ve seen while reviewing diet pills, I’ll use a fake scenario with our friend John. John is convinced by the marketing of a certain diet pills and finds that they offer a free trial. Being a naturally trusting person, he inputs all his personal information into the free trial request form and his credit card number to pay for the shipping of the trial.
Once John submits his request, he now finds himself enrolled in the autoship. John will usually have around 15 days to call and cancel the autoship (which he likely won’t even know about unless he read the fine print). If he doesn’t cancel, on the 15 day he will be charged anywhere from $30 to $100 depending on the product (some even charge you for a 3 month’s supply in advance, tripling these charges). He is surprised and irate by the charges and tries to call the company to find out what is going on and to demand a refund. Surprise! They either don’t answer their phone or they give John the run around telling him to call a dozen different numbers, none of which gives him any answers (this isn’t always the case, but seems very common). And before you know it John has a couple worthless bottles of pills and few hundred dollars in charges on his credit card that he can’t get refunded. Sounds like a scam to me!
Now, are all autoship programs like our fictitious example above? No. Many fully disclose their autoship in very noticeable manners. But the ones that don’t are not much more than a scam that uses a diet pill product as it’s conduit to take your money. The point of this: read the fine print and be cautious of free trials. Not much in this is life is free and I assure you that these companies aren’t looking out for anything but their own bottom line.