Jun 9, 2014 1:19 PM by Dave Fields
The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is advising consumers to review their bank statements for possible unauthorized charges of less than less than 20 dollars from one five Texas companies that may be billing customers for services they never provided.
BBB discovered advertising issues with the websites for the following five diet-related business, all similar in content:
· 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)
According to the BBB, consumers indicated they had never visited their websites nor had contacted the businesses, yet were billed by the sites. All five businesses have an "F" rating, the BBB's lowest possible rating, with BBB, for reasons that 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.
The BBB also says that these businesses failed to modify the websites or cease using unsubstantiated or inaccurate advertising claims after they had received Advertising Review challenges from the BBB. 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.
BBB performs advertising review across the U.S. and Canada to ensure ads are honest and accurately represent products and services to consumers and businesses. Instances in which companies responded to BBB, the companies promised, according to the BBB, to issue refunds and said that the consumers must have been billed after signing up for memberships while purchasing health-related products or receiving a sales call.
The consumers reported to the BBB that they had never heard of the company and had no idea why they were billed. The BBB said customers told them they 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 of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion. BBB says its mission is to work for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.