If you put on a few extra pounds during the COVID-19 pandemic and now you're trying to get moving and lose the weight, the Better Business Bureau has a warning about one health and fitness web-based service that's racked up more than a thousand complaints.
According to the BBB, Noom. an app-based weight loss service, has gotten more than 1,200 complaints alleging that the company offers misleading free trials and then makes it difficult to cancel after the free trial is done. According to the complaints, consumers are then charged monthly despite trying to cancel the free trial, consumers reporting losses anywhere from $20 up to $180 and more.
"When you sign up for something what do you have to deliver on and what can the business do to kind of make you deliver on that," said Alyssa Parker of the BBB Serving Eastern North Carolina.
The CEO of Noom is responding to the complaints, saying in part while the vast majority of users have had a positive experience, they do take the complaints seriously and are expanding the size of their customer support team so customers can reach the company. Read his full statement here.
Remember it is key to research the company and read the fine print before giving your credit card information.
To avoid losing money on free trials and subscription services, especially in the health and wellness area, the BBB recommends the following tips:
Be wary of free trial offers, and before signing up, fully understand all the terms and conditions. Free trial offers are common in the health and beauty category. Some deals might become "subscription traps" that hook consumers into paying for expensive products or services that they did not intend or agree to buy. Be cautious and proceed carefully if the business terms say that it takes payment from your credit card until you cancel.
Determine your fitness goals and check the details. It's hard work to lose weight. Find a program you can stick with, preferably one that you enjoy, with goals that seem reasonable to you. Be sure you understand how the product or service is supposed to work. Does a weight loss plan require you to buy special foods? Can you cancel if you move or find that the program doesn't meet your needs?
Always be wary of "overpromises" in advertisements and customer testimonials for weight loss services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), evidence suggests gradual loss of one to two pounds per week is a healthy goal and is more successful for achieving long-term weight loss.
Report concerns. If you come across an ad for a weight loss program or product that feels like it's overpromising or deceptive, report it. Contact your BBB, report suspicious, confusing or misleading ads to BBB Ad Truth and file a report with the Federal Trade Commission.