One of the acai berry’s most miraculous powers is its ability to filch hundreds of dollars from consumers who are seeking new ways to lose weight and live forever. Now one company known for marketing an acai elixir has settled a lawsuit from the Arizona Attorney General over charges of deceptive practices.
Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc. (“CCN”), and its Phoenix-based owner Graham Gibson have agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million total, but a million of that goes to the state. $350,000 has been set aside to distribute among customers nationwide who were victims of CCN’s misleading upsells and deliberately bad customer service:
According to the complaints, consumers who purchased the low-cost “risk-free trial offers” of CCN’s health supplements were also charged for costly products and services that they did not request. These included pre-selected “up-sell” products that the consumer had to actively de-select in the online order form to avoid being charged. When consumers tried to contact CCN regarding the unauthorized charges, they often faced hold times over an hour and their e-mails never received a response.
The Better Business Bureau, which says they receive over 2200 complaints about the company in the past 12 months, says consumers can file a complaint whether they live in Arizona or not.
Victims of CCN [can] file a complaint via phone at 602.542.5763 or 800.352.8431(toll free) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 17.
Those same consumers can save even more money by not buying any more miracle drinks via infomercials or websites.
CCN Settlement Press Release (PDF) [Arizona Attorney General]