In this day of Internet-driven life, the old adage "caveat emptor" (buyer beware) has made a switch to "caveat venditor" (seller beware). Why? Because we consumers are researching the heck out of multiple products, services and potential providers online before settling on which one is best for us.
But, scams still abound and for the unsuspecting, trusting or just plain ol' dumb consumer, the venditores can still win.
Take for instance all the hoopla about the amazing "new" wonder-fruit, the Acai berry. It grows in the Amazon and is evidently chock full of antioxidants ("they" say 2x that of blueberries, which is a lot, but beware...*), amino and essential fatty acids.
Sounds great...so what's the catch?
For starters, these berries only grow in the Amazon - they need a tropical climate - so they're hard to come by. In fact, they're full of seeds, which means they rot quickly after being picked*. So, it's downright impossible to get the actual fruit here in the U.S. - unless they're in pill form. This means they're expensive.
Ok, no biggie. Any GNC or health market will have them on-hand, right? Not according to what "they" want you to believe! (However, GNC DOES carry plenty of Acai berry products, available either online or on the store shelves.)
Hence, the online craze. The 'net is FULL of free trials, low shipping offers, and endorsements by big names like Oprah, Rachael Ray and others.
That's all well and good (last time I checked, Oprah didn't have to worry about expensive vitamins) - but the tables have turned...caveat emptor, people! While I didn't get "caught," I'm sure there are many people who have ordered their 14- or 15-day free trial for this product, then have had to deal with receiving more product and of course being billed heavily to their credit card every month thereafter.
I read reviews and learned some about the Acai berry here, and ended up ordering Nature's Best Acai here. Of course I didn't read the fine print until AFTER I'd ordered. No biggie, I have 2 weeks to call and "cancel" my subscription, which is now in their database.
Along with the Acai pills I ordered some Colon Cleanse here - yes, I do believe in detoxification of the body - don't judge me, I'm getting married and I want to lose all of the stomach chub by any means possible :) I'll also have to call this company to cancel the trial - after reading up on the Acai I checked the terms of service on this site to get the information.
There's a reminder in my MS Outlook calendar to call and cancel BOTH trials...before I get billed the "super low rate" of ~$80 per month PER product. Yowzas.
Now, I can totally justify paying money for good products which have a better chance than most of elongating my life and making it a healthier existence: good bed, good shoes, good vitamins. But, some people might think that money can fall from the skies and that free lunches DO exist. For you, I'd suggest reading all asterisks before making a decision.
Keep in mind: just because it's endorsed by cutie-pa-tootie Rachael Ray and Oprah** doesn't mean it won't come back to bite your credit card. They certainly don't have to worry about $100 per month for berry extract :)
Another thing to keep in mind - so far it seems the FDA has NOT evaluated the Acai products. So, we circle back: caveat emptor.
*You can read all about acai fruit at Wikipedia and decide for yourself whom to trust...
**Again, after looking this up (other than on the numerous sites selling the products) I found out this isn't true. According to Wikipedia, each berry - about the size of a grape - contains one large seed.
***Also according to Wikipedia: "In late 2008, lawyers for The Oprah Winfrey Show began investigating potential claims against supplement manufacturers who suggested that frequent Oprah guest Dr. Mehmet Oz had recommended their product or açai in general for weight loss."