Sunday, June 14, 2009

Are Anti-Aging Products Containing Resveratrol Scamming Innocent People?

Getting old happens to the best of us – and ever since Juan Ponce de Leon went to Florida in 1512 on a quest to find the fountain of youth – many have searched for a miracle that would stop, slow or reverse the aging process.

The marketing of Resveratrol is the latest chapter in this saga and has inspired some greedy and not very honest entities to hawk Resveratrol products over the Internet they claim are "guaranteed." The only guarantee with some of these products is that the person buying them might end up spending a lot of money for nothing.

The sad truth is that there are companies selling Resveratrol supplements that appear to be using deceptive marketing practices. If you see a come-on for Resveratrol, I would carefully consider, whether or not, it appears a little too be too good to be true and follow the principle of "caveat emptor" (buyer beware). Of course, it always pays to read the “fine print” (as you will see below), also.

Please note, I'm not here to dispute the possible health benefits of Resvervatrol or recommend if people should use it. The research on it is pretty exciting and I truly hope the results are positive.

There is research showing that Resveratrol has the ability to cure diseases caused by aging and increase life spans. 60 Minutes, Oprah and many other media sources have done stories on it – but although it is being studied seriously – it still hasn’t been approved by the FDA.

Unfortunately, seeming credible evidence is often twisted by greedy people with the intent of making a quick buck, who make it appear they are legitimate when they are not.

Horror stories are starting to pop in Internet forums from ordinary people – who buy Resveratrol and end up paying a lot more than they should have. Even worse, they might end up buying something that isn’t really Resveratrol. A lot of supplements are hawked via spam advertising, where the source might be slightly questionable. The latest estimates are that over 90 percent of all e-mail is spam. Spam is known to contain a lot of deceptive and outright criminal come-ons.

Of course, spam advertising isn't the only venue where Resveratrol is being marketed. Dr. Oz has talked about Resveratrol on Oprah and the article on this from Oprah.com has put in a disclaimer that Harpo productions is pursuing companies that are claiming an affiliation with Dr. Oz or Oprah. I even found an ad page from a "Dr. Os" (note the spelling difference), which is hawking Resveratrol. The page has a YouTube video with the real Dr. Oz talking about Resveratrol. Didn't go so far as to confirm it, but I would be careful about buying anything on this site, which offers up to two free bottles of Resveratrol.

Sadly enough the Oprah.com article – with the disclaimer – is buried by all the other sites using Dr. Oz and other assorted mainstream media stories about Resveratrol. If you want to see what I am talking about, a simple search for "Resveratrol" pulls up an amazing amount of Internet marketing selling Resveratrol. Some of the advertising has "warnings" that Resveratrol products might be harmful to someone's health or a scam. Most of these ads lead to the product the advertiser putting out the warning is selling.

The sheer volume of advertising on Resveratrol makes it hard for the average person to determine what is legitimate and what is not.

Besides the disclaimer being made by Oprah, there is some interesting buzz on her forums about a product called "Resveratrol Ultra.". Many of the people leaving comments on these forums have had their credit cards repetitively charged after signing up for a free trial of this particular product. The true cost is $87.13 for the free trial (if you don’t immediately return it) and they keep shipping you their product and charging you this amount, monthly.

I went to the Resveratrol Ultra site and it has a YouTube clip of the 60 minutes story. One thing I noticed is there is a disclaimer on the site, which states:

The 15 day Free Trial offer is designed to display the quality and effectiveness of Resveratrol Ultra. This gives you the opportunity to try this remarkable program for FREE (just pay shipping and handling) so you can come to a decision for yourself if this is the right product for you.

We want you to be pleased with our products. If it is not all you expected it to be, or you're unsatisfied in any way just return the unused portion 15 days from the date that the product was originally shipped to you for a refund. We are committed to providing superior products and service to our customers. If you are not completely satisfied, contact us and we will make it right for you. Guaranteed!
If you read the complaints this seems to allow them to start charging you $87.13 a month starting with the free offer unless you return the product in 15 days. Based on the comments in Oprah's forum and on a personal conversation I had with a victim -- good luck getting any cooperation from Resveratrol Ultra in getting a refund once this happens. Other complaints state it is even hard to get them to stop billing you $87.13 a month.

Of course, Oprah.com isn't the only place where the public is crying foul about a company selling a Resveratrol product. Complaintboard.com is warning people about Resveratrol complaints and there are also YouTube videos about the subject.

I did a search on mainstream drug store sites and found Resveratrol for about $7 to $12 a bottle. This seems to be a more sensible way to go than paying almost $100 a bottle if you choose to try Resveratrol before the FDA approves it. These places won’t keep charging your credit card, over and over again, either.

If anyone reading this has a complaint, the best place to report it would be the Federal Trade Commission. You can do so right on their site. I ran a search on the FTC site and so far there is nothing about Resveratrol companies, but if enough people complain to them, perhaps there will be.

Posting complaints in Internet forums is an honorable thing to do – but my guess is that if the FTC gets enough complaints they will look into it and go after the people doing it – a lot more, effectively!

To close this post, I would like to reach out to all the mainstream sources which have covered Resveratrol. Their stories are being used to market these products. It sure would be nice if they took the time to cover this aspect of the story more effectively. The few warnings out there about this are easily buried by all the people selling Resveratrol!

My inspiration to write this post came from a Nurse Carol, who spent a career working in Public Health and holds a Master's Degree. She fell for the free trial part of this and has gone through hours of pain and suffering trying to get her money back. Despite cancelling the product after realizing what it was all about, her credit card is still be billed by Resveratrol Ultra as I write this. Although Nurse Carol isn’t a celebrity like Doctor Oz, I can guarantee she recommends that anyone considering using Resveratrol exercise caution before handing over a method of payment.

8 comments:

Cynthia said...

Be careful with supplements claiming all sorts of cures. Stamina-Rx was just recalled for undisclosed ingredients, misleading information: http://www.newsinferno.com/archives/6933#more-6933

Ju said...

Important to Note: Most research on resveratrol has been conducted on animals, not people.

Research in mice given resveratrol has indicated that the antioxidant might also help protect them from obesity and diabetes, both of which are strong risk factors for heart disease. However, those findings were reported only in mice, not in people. In addition, to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to consume 100 to 1,000 bottles of red wine a day.

Watch the top videos on resveratrol:
http://tinyurl.com/nxbbst

Anonymous said...

The resveratrol ad does not say that the person signing up for "free" sample is really signing up for $85.00 per month supplement.
The real story is in the "terms" section at bottom of the AD.

Customer thinks he is only paying $3.50 for shipping and handling when they Are really signing up for monthly bill.
THIS IS A CRMINAL FRAUD AD.
AND SHOULD BE STOPPED.

World Vitamins Online said...

It is unfortunate that a product that has the potential of resveratrol is getting a bad name because of a few people that are trying to exploit a news story with scams. Always do a little research on the company that you are doing business with and make sure they manufacture under GMP's (Good Manufacturing Practices) to assure you are getting what is advertised.

Anonymous said...

I ordered the free sample of Resveratrol Ultra. Two weeks later my credit card was charged $87 without my permission. I had three phone numbers for the company, but none were ever answered. Connected with a rep on line who told me it was all in the terms & conditions, which were never provided to me. I thought Dr. Oz had better friends than this bunch of crooks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your comment Anonymous.
I just checked with my credit card company and found out a subsequent charge was pending for the product, and as a result I closed that credit card account. I am sending back the unused "free" product.

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