Pure Weight Loss Helped Customers Lose Money, Not Weight, Says Attorney General

Last week, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General filed a consumer protection lawsuit against the PA-based company Pure Weight Loss and its owner, Vahan Karian. Pure Weight Loss, which has about 400 stores nationwide, announced last December that it was going out of business, and yet continued to accept pre-payment from unaware customers up to four days after posting the announcement on its website. Since closing, it has failed to reimburse customers fees for unfulfilled contracts or deliver the supplies they’ve already bought.

According to the lawsuit, Pure Weight Loss continued to aggressively market long-term contracts for weight loss services in the fall and winter of 2007, despite numerous financial difficulties, including tax liens, legal judgments and lawsuits against the company filed in several states.

To date, Corbett said the Attorney General’s Health Care Section has received more than 850 claims from consumers approaching $500,000 for undelivered Pure Weight Loss products or services. The average claim by consumers is $880, though some consumers paid in excess of $2,000 for goods and services which were not delivered.

The lawsuit against Pure Weight Loss and Mr. Karian seeks full restitution for all consumer claims, along with civil penalties of up to $1,000 per violation – or $3,000 for violations involving senior citizens.

(Thanks to Patrick!)

“Attorney General Corbett announces consumer protection lawsuit over sudden closure of Pure Weight Loss chain; refunds sought for hundreds of consumers” [attorneygeneral.gov]

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  1. Truthie says:

    Ooh, I think I know where that picture was taken. Newport shopping center in Jersey City?

  2. Balisong says:

    A weight loss company scammed people out of money and noone lost weight?! What is this world coming to?!!!11

  3. I got a great deal on a six month membership during the “Going-Out-of-Business” sale!!!!

  4. theblackdog says:

    But they did lose weight, even if it was in the form of making their wallets lighter.

  5. chiieddy says:

    I’ve managed to lose 23 lbs (so far) without paying a cent. Sparkpeople.com for the win! I wonder when people will realize that the weight loss programs you pay for don’t encourage you to keep the weight off because they want you to keep coming back and spend more of your money!

  6. Mary says:

    You know, I think I’ve been hearing ads for them on the tv that plays behind me at work. And they’re going out of business?

    Was this maybe just a certain franchise or something?

  7. FangDoc says:

    I lost 70 lbs. with them about 4 yrs. ago. I only joined because I got comped the weekly fee (a promotion like they do with the radio hosts, to get customers by word of mouth.) At the time, I really liked the program, the peer counselors were great, and it was just a really supportive environment. Last summer, I rejoined (some of the weight had come back, had to wear a strapless gown in SIL’s wedding, blah blah) and it was like a different place. The “counselors” were only interested in selling more products, and they were definitely less articulate and lower down on the employability scale — not the people I would have thought would be hired to do one-on-one weight loss coaching. I imagine they slashed salaries and got what they paid for. Not to mention there were a lot fewer of them, so sometimes I waited 45 min. to get to weigh in.

    In retrospect, I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall; they owe me $700 in product that they couldn’t deliver because corporate stopped sending shipments to the local center as soon as the closing was announced. I was there the last day they were open, when they were supposed to be getting a shipment of products, and the truck never came. Corporate has received my “refund request form” sent certified and return receipt, but I doubt a check is coming in 6-8 weeks like the form says. I have a feeling I’ll be giving the A.G. a call and see who’s jumping on the litigation bandwagon for this one.

    The worst part in a way is that they really did have a good business model 4 yrs ago. Good employees, good diet plan, and I really saw results that the accountability of their one-on-one coaching helped make possible. Now their name just makes me ill.

  8. Matunis5 says:

    I got my refund check….but it was written on a closed account. SO I am now out a bounced check fee on top of my monies they already owed me. THey have disconnected all of their phones. I filed with the PA Attn General, see if that gets me anywhere.

    I had lost weight with this program in the past, and do well when I follow it. Had gone off plan and joined again. I agree, lower class employees and more sale pitches.

    I think we are all out of luck on this one.

  9. mrspoz75 says:

    I joined in 2004, and I lost 41 lbs, and my husband lost 45 lbs. just from me following the program. The program did work; however, the quality of the personnel took a dive. Instead of professional, articulate people, I got smoking, eye-rolling gum-chewers who were very lacksadasial. None of the personnel were medically qualified to give you nutritional instructions. The products were actually good- they make the best biscotti I ever had. I am upset because they did not notify me the center was closing and I had $532 of products I had paid for and never received. The center had no food when I found out from a friend it was closing. I asked for copies of my files, and was refused. I was told the files were all going to corporate headquarters and that I would receive a refund. My certified, return receipt requested letter came back to me with “underliverable” stamped on it. So I have filed suit with the Pennsylvania attorney general. Don’t be so hard on people who are really trying to lose weight with a program that has been successful for many. We are just asking for the products and services we paid for! How would you feel???

  10. Anonymous says:

    i show for my visit in linderhurst ny and the doors was closed no-one there-no questions to answer.i have four wks left 34 bars=17 boxes and stabilization wks left i never received any letter explaining this mistery. i need a refund immediately, i am going to court to find answers 4- 30 -09