Jan 6, 2014 12:38 PM by MELISSA CANONE
Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is alerting local consumers to one such company, Central Coast Nutraceuticals.
This company has an "F" Rating with BBB due to unanswered complaints and a pattern of complaints concerning billing or collection issues and customer service issues. The company also failed to respond to two complaints filed against the business and has a Federal Trade Commission government action against business.
The company's full BBB Business review can be found at http://www.bbb.org/central-northern-western-arizona/business-reviews/vitamins-and-food-supplements/central-coast-nutraceuticals-inc-in-phoenix-az-97006918 .
Complaints state that after signing up for the $1 risk-free trial and paying shipping and handling fees, consumers are billed $38.95 for the product before the 20 day trial period ends.
Additionally, complaints allege the company does not honor their cancellation policy and the terms for cancelling an order are unclear and confusing. Consumers have indicated difficulty contacting this company and experience hold times up to 75 minutes before a customer service representative can be reached.
On January 3, 2012, Central Coast Nutraceuticals and its Principals entered into a Settlement Order with the FTC. The Order settles allegations that Central Coast Nutraceuticals violated the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and Federal (advertising) Regulation E when marketing their Acai and Colon products.
Under the terms of the Order, Central Coast Nutraceuticals agreed to an $80 million judgment, to be suspended once the FTC received $1.5 million. The Order was for settlement purposes only and should not be considered as an admission of guilt or finding of violation of the law.
December 20, 2013, the FTC updated the status of this case and mailed 316,716 checks to consumers who purchased products from Central Coast Nutraceuticals.
BBB offers the following tips to avoid problems when ordering these and similar items online:
· Start with Trust. Check out all businesses at bbb.org.
· Know the Website. Before ordering any merchandise, check the URL link to make sure it starts with "https://" (the ‘s' means it is secure). Make sure to confirm the address and phone number of the online business in case there are any issues contacting them.
· Read and Compare. When buying a product, read the whole description including the fine print. It is important to understand the details of the product being purchased so there are no surprises when it's delivered. Check competitor prices to guarantee the lowest price. There are many online resources that allow the comparison of products and offer coupon codes to get a better deal.
· Check the Return Policy. Read the return policy to see if the business allows a full refund if the customer is not happy with the product. Review the policy to see who pays for the cost of shipping and handling for the return.
· Choose the Correct Payment Method. Always pay with a credit card when shopping online. A purchase with a credit card is protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act. This allows customers to briefly hold payment while a problem is reviewed and resolved.
· Make sure to print the receipts and product information of any online purchases to prevent incorrect charges.
· If there is a problem with a purchase or business, complaints can be filed with the Better Business Bureau to help resolve the issue. The Federal Trade Commission also handles complaints at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Better Business Bureau works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. For more than 100 years, BBB has helped consumers make smarter buying decisions and is evolving to meet fast-changing marketplace needs.
BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.