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BBB Consumer Alerts for February 2009

BBB Warns of Garner-based Web Retailer
Online Weight-Loss Company Highlighted in February Consumer Alerts

RALEIGH, N.C. (February 19, 2009) - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Eastern North Carolina (www.bbb.org) warns consumers to be cautious when dealing with companies offering free trials, especially when a credit or debit card is used to cover shipping and handling costs. Complaints are being filed regarding the deceptive practices of an online company with a post office box in Garner, N.C.

Highlighted in the February 2009 BBB Consumer Alerts, Colon Cleanse Pro/Life Fit Labs, LLC is not living up to its stated policies listed on its Web site. Complainants state, based on the company's Web site, they believed they could try the product for free, paying only shipping and handling charges, and decide later if they wanted to reorder the product. Instead, the consumers are automatically sent another bottle and charged $69.95. If consumers return the product, they are charged a 15 percent restocking fee. Twenty-four complaints are on file against the company, with the first coming in June 2008. Unable to obtain any additional information about the company and its principals, BBB is still actively investigating the claims.

"It's shameful that companies are deceiving consumers about their products, especially when it pertains to sensitive issues such as weight," says Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina. "People need to be cautious when dealing with online-based companies and should always check with BBB to assure they are reputable."

The company has an F rating from BBB. Consumers are encouraged to contact BBB through its Web site at www.bbb.org, if they have similar experiences with this or any other company.

About BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,200 local business and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit www.bbb.org.

# # #

CONSUMER ALERTS FOR FEBRUARY 2009

In an effort to keep the media and public informed, the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina offers monthly BBB Consumer Alerts as potential story or interview ideas. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of a company. This list is current as of release date. Information regarding business or consumer topics reported here can be obtained through the BBB office by contacting info@raleigh.bbb.org.

TaxMasters is advertising their tax settlement service on TV, and consumers are contacting the BBB. More than 240 complaints have been filed against this Houston company, with 115 complainants requesting refunds. The company charges a $500 up-front fee and states that the initial fee is not refunded unless company officials feel they "drop the ball."

American Tax Relief is advertising their tax service on the radio. One consumer heard the ad and contacted the company. However, when the company representative asked him for his bank account numbers, he hung up and pulled a BBB report. Now that's a responsible consumer! The Los Angeles company has more than 140 complaints, a government action and an F rating with the BBB.

Magic Jack is advertising their telephone service on TV. The W. Palm Beach BBB met with Magic Jack representatives to discuss options to eliminate the cause and pattern of complaints. After discussion, Magic Jack agreed to clarify their terms and conditions regarding their 30-day, free-trial offer, provide improved customer service and a more "user friendly product." Complainants allege funds were withdrawn from their accounts before the end of the 30-day trial period. The BBB continues to monitor the status. More than 1,000 complaints have been filed against the company.

Free Medicine Foundation advertises that, for a $10 fee per prescription charge, they will send the consumer an application for free medicine. One consumer saw the ad on the Montel Williams Show, applied for four prescriptions, was debited $40 and received nothing. The BBB feels the company's name has the capacity to mislead by using the words "foundation" and "free." Consumers can obtain this type of free (really free!) information from pharmaceutical companies. More than 55 complaints have been filed against this Missouri company, and they have an F rating with the BBB.

GameHouse, Inc. offers online game creation for Web sites and designer graphics for software. This Seattle company has an F rating with the BBB due to the number of complaints (more than 45), and failure to respond to complaints filed against the business.

Home Access USA advertises information on a "wealth building" offer by investing in pre-foreclosure properties. The up-front fee of $198 must be paid before a consumer can view the company's Web site for complete info. The company claims to provide exclusive listings of pre-default homeowners (before public notification) on how to buy properties at 30%-50% under market price, without credit or even with bad credit. Complainants allege misrepresentation of services, unauthorized credit card charges and refusal of refunds. More than 185 complaints have been filed against this California company, and they have an F rating with the BBB.

Rerun Media, which does business as DVDPawn.com and GamePawn.com, operates Web sites like online pawnshops where consumers can sell their used DVDs and video games for extra cash. Potential sellers register an account on the Web site and submit their list of game and movie titles for a quote. They then have 20 days to ship their items to Rerun Media. The company's Web site says customers are paid by check or Pay Pal the same day their merchandise is received. The problem is - consumers say they're not getting paid what they were promised or they're not getting paid at all. This company has an F rating from the BBB. Thanks to the Austin, Texas BBB for this information.

Colon Cleanse Pro/Life Fit Labs, LLC , is an online company with a post office box in Garner, NC. The BBB has been unable to obtain any additional information about the company and its principals. Twenty-four complaints have been filed against this company since June 2008. Complainants state that, based on statements on the company's Web site, they believed they could try the product for free, paying only shipping and handling charges, and decide later if they wanted to reorder the product. Instead, they are automatically sent another bottle and a charged $69.95. If consumers return the product, they are charged a 15% restocking fee. One consumer claimed, "I would have never ordered the product if I knew the true cost." This company has an F Rating with the BBB.

About BBB of Eastern North Carolina:
The Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina is a 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit corporation serving 33 counties in eastern North Carolina. The organization is funded primarily by BBB Accredited Business fees from more than 3,200 local business and professional firms. The BBB promotes integrity, consumer confidence and business ethics through business self-regulation in the local marketplace. Services provided by the BBB include, reports on companies and charitable organizations, general monitoring of advertising in the marketplace, dispute resolution services, and consumer/business education programs. All services are provided at no cost to the public, with the occasional exception of mediation and arbitration. Visit www.bbb.org.

BBB of Eastern North Carolina
5540 Munford Road, Suite 130
Raleigh, NC 27612

Media Contacts:
Cindy Stranad
919.232.5008
cindy@articulon.com

Beverly Baskin
919.277.4202
bbaskin@raleigh.bbb.org

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