'Free trials' for acai or to work-from-home are scams, BBB says

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Be wary of online ads offering free trials for Acai diet pills, work-at-home jobs or teeth whiteners. They're too good to be true, says the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB has received thousands of complaints from consumers who signed up for free trial offers and then got stuck with recurring credit and debit card charges that were nearly impossible to stop.

The ads have been posted on popular sites like ESPN.com, MSN.com and Weather.com. But they take consumers who click to fake news web sites.

Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said in a statement that online ads touting free trials for various products continue to be a problem.

"Just as soon as one company is put out of business, it's replaced by another with the same model of ripping consumers off under the guise of a no-risk, free trial offer," he said.

The ads have been posted on popular sites like ESPN.com, MSN.com and Weather.com. But they take consumers who click to fake news web sites.

Stephen A. Cox, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, said in a statement that online ads touting free trials for various products continue to be a problem.

"Just as soon as one company is put out of business, it's replaced by another with the same model of ripping consumers off under the guise of a no-risk, free trial offer," he said.

XM Brands, one of the companies tied to the ads, has an F rating with the BBB. Consumers complained they paid $1.49 to $3.87 for shipping items such as teeth whiteners, acai diet pills and colon cleansers, but were actually charged as much as $87 a month. Customers got nowhere with the Florida-based company when they asked for money back or that the charges be stopped, the BBB says.

Another company, Internet Cash Machines, generated more than 460 complaints from consumers who thought they would be working from home when they signed up for a free trial package that cost $2.95. Consumers were actually charged as much as $149 and were unsuccessful in canceling the charges. It, too, has an F rating.

The BBB offers advice about these free trial offers on its web site.Brands, one of the companies tied to the ads, has an F rating with the BBB. Consumers complained they paid $1.49 to $3.87 for shipping items such as teeth whiteners, acai diet pills and colon cleansers, but were actually charged as much as $87 a month. Customers got nowhere with the Florida-based company when they asked for money back or that the charges be stopped, the BBB says.

Another company, Internet Cash Machines, generated more than 460 complaints from consumers who thought they would be working from home when they signed up for a free trial package that cost $2.95. Consumers were actually charged as much as $149 and were unsuccessful in canceling the charges. It, too, has an F rating.

The BBB offers advice about these free trial offers on its web site.
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