Scrolling around on Facebook one day last December, 85-year old Leota Ball says she saw an ad that caught her eye. What seemed like a good idea that day, ended up costing the Batavia woman hundreds of dollars.
“Like a dummy, I clicked it,” she told NBC5 Responds. “And I knew better.”
The hook was for skin products called “Infinite Allure’ and “Youthful Radiance” that promised to erase years of wrinkles. The bait? A face she knows and trusts.
“It was Dr. Oz!” Leota said.
That implied endorsement made her feel better about agreeing to a $4.95 “risk-free trial” for the face cream and serum, she says. So she agreed to the minimal cost.
“I thought, ‘I can afford that,’” Leota said. But much to her shock, she says, her credit card was billed for much more than just shipping. Within a month and a half, she was shipped two boxes of the face cream bottles, and hit for more than $340. Each bottle carried around an $80 charge.
“I called them and told them I didn’t order two,” she explained. “And they said, ‘Oh, yes, you did!’ And I said, ‘Why would I want two?’”
With her monthly spending money at $70, Leota said she tried to tell the company behind the ad that they’d made a mistake.
“When you call and talk to them, they aren’t nice to you at all,” she told NBC5 Responds.
Leota isn’t alone. Through a Freedom of Information request, NBC5 Responds learned the Federal Trade Commission recently received two dozen similar complaints. Consumers from across the county told the FTC they, too, agreed to pay $4.95 shipping fees to the South Carolina-based company, only to be gouged for “astronomical” fees. Many of them reported they also tried to get refunds to no avail.
When we called the company, which bills under the names “Try Healthy Now” and “Clear One Health,” representatives first told us they could not speak to NBC5 without Leota’s permission. Later, a manager told us the company’s ad clearly discloses a 14-day trial period, followed by an auto-pay subscription that ships two bottles at a time to customers, for fees of $81 and $84, respectively. Leota and other customers say they never saw those disclaimers.
When the company offered to refund only one-half of one month’s fee to Leota, NBC5 Responds went in a different direction. We called her credit card issuer Citi, and after explaining the situation—representatives of Citi reached out directly to Leota. She says all the fees connected to this transaction were wiped off her bill, much to her relief.
She also said she wanted more than just her money back—she wants to get the word out about this scheme.
“I told the company. I said, you can bank on it that I’m going to report you,” she told NBC5 Responds. “At that point I just didn’t know to who!”
The company that sells “Infinite Allure” did not respond to our repeated attempts for comment. As for Dr. Oz, a spokesperson told NBC5 that Dr. Oz does not endorse the face cream, or any other product. Oz’s representative says the doctor considers “anyone that uses his name or picture to sell products or supplements to consumers reckless and dangerous.”