Acai: One Hot Berry! (Betty Sexton)

If you're on a health food kick or just trying to eat the right stuff... you've probably heard about the Acai (ah-sigh-ee) berry. Oprah has talked about it as well as many others. But be careful! There are so many scams revolving around Acai supplements. Even I was duped!

     No doubt about it... Acai is one hot berry!  As soon as it hit the radar, companies began selling Acai supplemenents. I personally have taken a dozen phone calls from viewers who have clicked on pop-up ads for Acai, signed up for trial offers, and felt ripped off.

     Here's why people feel scammed. They give a company their contact and credit card information and order a 14-day free trial of Acai pills or capsules. They believe the bottle that's on the way to their door... just contains 14 days worth of pills. What they don't know... the bottle contains a month's supply and if they don't send it back within 14 days... their credit card automatically will be dinged upwards of $90... for that month's supply.

     Because there are so many pages of fine print to read... and who reads it all.... if you sign up for the free trial ... you are also signing up for a never-ending supply of supplement. This is called negative option billing.

     I hate this practice. A lot of magazine companies use it, too. You have to call to cancel in advance or the company assumes you want the product and will keep sending it to you and billing you for it... until you take the steps to cancel it.

     I cancelled my Acai contract... but because I didn't see an add-on to the fine print... I didn't realize that the company ALSO signed me up for an online health monitoring service. I never took advantage of this service and didn't realize I was being charged for it until I spotted a strange charge on my Visa bill. When I called, I learned I had to pay for the past month... because it had already passed.. even though I never used it.

     After hearing from other viewers who also felt cheated, I did some research and learned these mail order supplements may not be the best way to get the true benefits of the Acai berry.

     I'm no doctor, but I am a consumer advocate. Just like anything else you buy, do your homework. There are many out there just trying to capitalize on the Acai name and claims.

     My advice... read up on Acai and ask your doctor if it's worth trying. Your best bet may be going to Whole Foods and trying their pure Acai berry juice or freeze dried capsules... much cheaper than paying $90 a month for mail order pills. 

     Let me know your thoughts.

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