Consumer Handbook: “Miracle” Weight Loss Products

Jan 15, 2020

Credit Better Business Bureau

Losing weight is a popular New Year’s resolution, but Better Business Bureau urges consumers to use caution when buying diet and weight loss products to aid them on their journey, especially products that advertise a free trial.

“Miracle” products that promise easy weight loss are ever-present on the internet, and you may be enticed to try these products through a “risk-free” trial: Just enter your name, address, and credit card number, and the product will be on its way for a nominal shipping and handling charge. However, according to a 2018 in-depth investigative study by BBB’s International Investigations Initiative, the fine print associated with many of these free trial offers ensnares consumers in so-called “subscription traps” that hook them for expensive shipments of products they did not explicitly agree to buy. 

BBB Scam Tracker fielded reports of about 260 scams in 2019 - and more than 1,100 in the last three years - that were associated with free trial offers. BBB also received more than 950 complaints in 2019 about weight loss services and products. Common complaints included never receiving products ordered, results that were not as advertised, or products that caused an adverse reaction. 

Before investing in diet or fitness plans or products, ask your doctor what an achievable weight loss goal for you would be and determine your fitness goals. Avoid products that claim to help you lose weight without diet or exercise, and be skeptical of claims that you don’t have to give up favorite foods or reduce the amount you consume. Be suspicious of taking special pills, powders, or herbs, and be wary of a lack of ingredient list. 

Be cautious when a company says it can guarantee weight loss, because there is never a guarantee when it comes to weight loss.