BBB Warns of Complaints & Advises on Health Firms

January 17, 2012

Denver, CO – January 17, 2012 – As we ring in the New Year, many resolve to improve their health in 2012.

Consumers should beware of who they look to for help with this, however. In 2011, BBBs nationwide received more than 920 complaints against weight control services, more than 600 complaints against gyms and more than 3,150 complaints against health and diet food retailers.

Consumers have complained about deceptive advertising, ineffective products, and confusing or misleading contracts.

“Health and weight loss are major industries in the U.S. so unfortunately, there are some bad actors out there,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. “It’s so important for consumers to be skeptical of programs and products that make unlikely promises.”

For consumers looking to shed pounds this year, we offer the following advice:

• Consult your physician. Before starting any weight loss regimen, visit your family doctor to discuss your overall health and safe and effective weight loss programs.

• Read contracts carefully. When signing up for any kind of recurring membership, such as at a gym or weight control program, be sure to understand all the terms and conditions before signing. Make sure you know how to cancel and whether or not your membership is automatically renewed at the end of the contract.

• Be wary of free trials. Know when the free trial begins and ends and whether or not you have to call to cancel in order to avoid future charges. Be clear on how much you will be charged if you do not cancel and whether or not you have to return any unused product.

• Avoid unproven products. Fad diets and new products come around every year that promise amazing results. Many such claims are not supported by evidence and some products have dangerous side effects.

• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Be wary of claims that a product can shed pounds without dieting or exercise, or programs that promise unusually good results.

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