Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Evil Acai

Acai berry is a fruit found only in the Amazon rain forest that has been proven to have amazing health benefits and extremely high levels of antioxidants, BUT, not all acai berries are created equal. Please, take a lesson from my naivety.

One day, February 10th, 2009, to be exact, I was just browsing the internet for, who knows what, and stumbled upon an advertisement for the the fore-mentioned "acai berry."

"Rated #1 antioxidant by Dr. Oz!"
"Flush 10, 20, 30 pounds of waste and toxins from your body!"
"Rachel Ray says..."
"ABC news reports..."
"CBS news has found..."

And, you guessed it, last but not least, my downfall, whom I'd like to blame, but will not, "Oprah Winfrey claims it is the most powerful and antioxidant rich food in the world!"

And yes, all the claims were ended with obnoxious exclamation points, this should have been my first clue: too good to be true. Oy.

But did I stop there? Of course not. I wanted more.

The clock was counting down, as it probably does and restarts again every 4 minutes. I was running out of time. I "needed" this product that would change my life. I "need" acai berry!

"Try it today. FREE!" they told me. "Just pay $4.99 S & H."

Heck, I've got $4.99 and that's not much to pay to flush my body of pounds of toxins and look just like Angelina Jolie! I'm in!

Like a mosquito to a mound of sticky honey, I was a goner. Images of perfect abdominal muscles and the perfect smile, just like the acai models, flashed before my eyes. Life would be different now, somehow better, somehow...brighter. Ahhhh!

Rush my order? Yes, please. At $4.99 this is some remarkable deal. I mean, it's "practically" free! What a steal. I am savyy. I am on the cutting edge of finding hot deals. I have arrived. I am growing up so fast, I mean, I even have my own debit card, whoo-hoo. I'll just punch in these little numbers and BAM, free stuff!

I received my bottle of Acai Berry supplement. I should've known by the incorrect use of apostrophe in the title written on the bottle, "Natures Best", instead of "Nature's Best." I should have known. I felt no life changing benefits. I did not lose "10, 20, 30" pounds. In fact, the capsules kinda made me sick to my stomach. Fine, only $4.99 lost. No biggie. Or so I thought.

Looking at my bank statement this morning, I noticed several charges that I didn't recognize amounting to over $200! I caught on very quickly to the Acai berry company, but there were several other web companies stealing my money as well.

I got online to search for the dang website I saw and googled, "free acai." Duh. The first hit on google read, "Do not get a free acai berry trial until you've read this." The second hit read, "Don't order free acai berry until you've read about this scam!"


What I was informed of by a well-trained customer service representative is that, the little, tiny, miniscule, and basically invisible "Terms of Offer" box at the very bottom of the page in 8-point font, fully explained what I was getting myself into and there was nothing she could do.

To which I replied, "Ok thank you for your explanation, now I can see what I did wrong. I realize that it is my fault for not fully researching before I signed up, but I feel that this company is being dishonest and stealing money from people by their inaccurate claims, and I am not getting off the phone until I get my money back. I'd be happy to speak to someone else, but I expect a refund. Thank you."

It wasn't that easy. It took being passed around to a few other customer service representatives dealing with me before I got some of my money back. Apparently signing up for this free Acai crap, included me in membership to several other companies who decided they had free reign on my bank account and I spent the morning getting my money back from them as well. Well, not all of it.

I'm still stuck with a $85.91 hole in my pocket. I still feel like a big dork for falling for such a ridiculous claim. I called my mom, "I've been scammed!" Basically she said, "Sorry babe. That sucks. At least it wasn't more."

She's right. Still I feel like such a goober for playing the part perfectly of a naive, senseless consumer, honestly expecting to get something for free. Oh no, not again.

As long as there is is money, there will be people misusing it. As long as there is one way to be healthy and take care of your body, someone will try to make money off of claiming there is an "instant" or "easy" way. As long as there are tried and true methods, people will cut corners and manipulate others to make a buck.

Learn from my long and dramatic blog.

Think: before you buy, before you speak, before you believe.

(Oh and don't go here looking for acai. "Apparently" it's overpriced. "Apparently" it won't change your life. And "apparently" it's a scam. Damn.)


Carley Brown said...

wowzers.. thats alot of money to be out. Sounds frustrating to have gotten nothing for something.

Hannah said...

I'd love to print a version of this in the ClockTower. If you'd like it published, feel free to send it to ucclocktower@gmail.com