Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Help Me Howard: Pill Rip-off
She bought something online that she was told was free. Bought it from a company she thought was endorsed by a TV star, but sadly she was misled not once, twice. Now can you get your money back from an online company located in who knows where? It's why a South Florida woman called Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Cynthia Delafield: "I guided tours around China. Went to the Art Students League in New York. Worked as a volunteer in the laboratories of the Memorial Sloan Kettering. I have a book published about the dolphins.
In the middle of all that she took time to be an actress and now...
Cynthia Delafield: "At this point basically I'm a gardener and I'm lazy."
Like the rest of America, when you get a little lazy, you gain a little. So Cynthia decided to try to lose a lot.
Cynthia Delafield: "So on my computer when I pulled up a page about Dr. Oz, I found the green coffee beans, and they said that they would send you one bottle free to try. So I ordered it."
Cynthia says the picture of Dr. Oz, the TV show host, was linked to a website. But it wasn't Dr. Oz' website.
Cynthia Delafield: "So that they could take it directly out of my account at the bank."
Anyway, Cynthia used her debit card to pay $8 for shipping the free bottle of green coffee beans. The next day she checked her bank account and was reminded of that line about nothing is free.
Cynthia Delafield: "I saw that they had charged me $100 and $48 for sending me five bottles."
When the five bottles arrived Cynthia called the website and said I only ordered the free bottle, not the other four bottles.
Cynthia Delafield: "And they said, "Oh, we are terribly sorry we made a mistake, we'll send you back the money.'"
Also a company calling itself by a different name also billed Cynthia another $148 for the green coffee beans but never sent the pills. Cynthia called them.
Cynthia Delafield: "And I said, 'Well then give me my money back.' 'Oh, we will. We'll send it back within 24 hours.'"
The two companies, possibly linked to each other since she only gave her debit card number to one company, now owes her $148 plus $148. Equaling to...
Cynthia Delafield: "They owe me $296."
Cynthia sent the four bottles back but neither company refunded a dime to her. Her bank can't return the money because she put it on her debit card.
Cynthia Delafield: "I can't afford to lose almost $300. That's why I called you."
Well Howard, when you buy online you have to be careful, but legally can Cynthia do anything to get the money back from the websites claiming to be endorsed by a TV star.
Howard Finkelstein: "Cynthia is clearly entitled to get her money back and Dr. Oz could sue for using his image to make money. But these online companies are probably owned by the same person, who will shut them down and start a new one with a new name and do it all over again. And the odds of catching them are between slim and none and slim has left town."
We spoke to a group that does customer service for both companies that took Cynthia's money. They admitted it was a mistake to bill Cynthia, but one company had gone out of business, the other company refused to refund the $148 they took from Cynthia. Their excuse, she didn't return the pills in time.
We then contacted Dr. Oz, who was also a victim here. A spokesman called this a crime. That this has happened to hundreds of people who watch Dr. Oz. Their statement: The Dr. Oz Show never sells or endorse any product and never purchase anything with Dr. Oz' name face or logo.
Cynthia Delafield: "Well, I wanted to lose about 60 pounds."
The web companies shrunk Cynthia's bank account. She did try the one jar of free pills and unfortunately, they didn't shrink her waist line, so it's back to the drawing board.
Cynthia Delafield: "I'm sort of on a permanent diet and that I break periodically. Like everybody else."
Patrick Fraser: "So true Cynthia, so true. A reminder, when you buy on the Internet, protect yourself by using a credit card or a company like PayPal. In case the deal is bad, they can get your money back. Don't use a debit card because as Cynthia found, the cash is out of your account and gone. Also if someone offers something for free, odds are, you are about to get ripped off."
Troubles weighing on you? Ready to shrink them down to size? Contact us, we are on a very clear diet. We gobble up problems you cant stomach anymore.
Contact Help Me Howard:
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com