Always read the fine print when buying anything onlinePosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- A Valley woman found out the hard way that you must read everything.
When you buy something over the Internet, many times there's a little box labeled "terms and conditions" relating to the transaction you're about to make.
You always need to read those "terms and conditions," but a Valley woman didn't and now she regrets it.
When Donna Knall was on the Internet recently, a pop-up ad really caught her eye.
The pop-up was an ad for a new dietary supplement called Acai Pure.
"I knew a little bit about this acai berry," she said. "It's supposed to be the new superfood, so I said, 'Gee, I want to try theirs."
Knall went to the product's Web site and found that for just $4.95 she could give the diet pill a try -- all "risk free," of course.
So Knall paid the $4.95 with her debit card, but when she checked her bank account she couldn't believe her eyes.
"I checked my online banking, which I just follow daily to make sure that my charges are accurate, and I saw my charge was not $4.95 but 44.85!" Knall said.
Forty five bucks! At first Knall thought that charge had to be a mistake, but after doing more research she found it wasn't.
"There were apparently a couple of boxes you're supposed to uncheck that I did not see," Knall said.
The box she's talking about is the terms and conditions box. According to the terms and conditions, consumers like Knall automatically agree to an additional $39.99 subscription fee month after month.
Knall says so much for that risk-free trial offer.
Unfortunately, Knall went through with the transaction anyway without reading what she calls the fine print.
"Misleading, that's the word I like to use," she said. "At first I used the word, and then I realized it wasn't really a scam, but it was definitely misleading and just not an honest company."
It turns out that Acai Pure is owned by a company called Central Coast Nutraceuticals located in Phoenix.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Central Coast Nutraceuticals has a whopping 2,000 complaints nationwide with the BBB.
The Phoenix BBB is so concerned it issued a warning recently telling consumers that they need to read those terms and conditions so they understand what they're getting into.
"I actually felt blessed that I'm only out 30 or 40 dollars not 100 or 200 or 300 dollars," she said.
Central Coast Nutraceuticals is also in hot water with the Arizona Attorney General's Office.
The A.G. is suing the company for what it calls "deceptive practices" and allegedly violating the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act.
An attorney who represents Central Coast Nutraceuticals tells me he is currently working out an agreement with the attorney general so the company complies with the Consumer Fraud Act. .