Unauthorized billing by diet websites is not what the doctor ordered

Individually, an unauthorized charge of less than $20 might easily go unnoticed by a consumer. When it happens many times, people begin to take notice.
June 09, 2014

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is alerting consumers to five related Texas businesses with similar unauthorized billing complaints.

They are:

  • Diet Instructor MD (www.dietinstructormd.com)
  • Health Leader MD (www.healthleader.com)
  • Slender Guide MD (www.slenderguidemd.com)
  • Diet Leader MD (www.dietleadermd.com)
  • Lean Inspiration MD (www.leaninspiration.com)

Consumers say they never signed up with the businesses and never visited their websites, but were billed by the sites.

BBB found several of these related businesses online and discovered advertising issues with all five websites, which have similar layout and content.

All five businesses have an “F” rating with BBB, the lowest possible.

Reasons for their ratings include complaints filed against businesses, failure to respond to complaints filed against businesses, advertising issues found by BBB and the businesses some of the businesses have failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints.

Most of the complaints about unauthorized billing referred to charges in the amount of $19.65, though some reported other amounts, such as $17.94. Some complainants reported being charged more than once in the same amount by different business names.

In cases where the companies responded to BBB, they promised to issue refunds and said the consumers must have been billed after signing up for memberships while purchasing health-related products or receiving a sales call.

Consumers reported they never heard of the company and had no idea why they were billed and had no idea how the business obtained their billing information.

BBB offers the following advice to avoid being billed for services you don’t want:

  • Review your statements. Review credit card and bank statements for any unusual or questionable transactions. Contact the financial institution immediately if any are found. Be prepared with your credit card number and an explanation of when and how the charge might have occurred.
  • Investigate. Once you have the exact name of the company charging your bank account or credit card, check out its BBB Business Review to see if it has a pattern of similar billing complaints.
  • File a complaint. If you are being charged for services you didn’t order, speak up. Visit bbb.org to file a complaint with BBB. Let the FTC know as well by filing a complaint at ftc.gov or by calling 877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
  • Dispute charges. Under federal law, charges made on a credit card can be disputed up to 60 days after the purchase.
  • Be wary online. Avoid giving your credit card and other sensitive information online without first researching the business.

BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.