Alert
Close

Watch the NASCAR race on Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Join the Drive to End Hunger!

Highlights

Open

You and Your Town Contest-You could win an AARP RealPad

AARP Auto Buying Program

Contests and
Sweeps

$10,000 Winter Escapes Sweepstakes

Beat the cold and cozy up to a chance of winning $10,000! See official rules.

Driver Safety

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

AARP Books

Visit the Money Section

Enjoy titles on retirement, Social Security, and becoming debt-free.

Jobs You Might Like

most popular
articles

Viewed

On Your Side

The Scam Stops Here

CCN settles, a $1.4 million win for consumers.

It's a sucker play. You go for the free-trial offer online. You pay for shipping and handling with a credit card. Then, when the bill arrives, you find the trial was anything but free—you've signed up for an ongoing supply at a hefty price.

People are taken in by such ruses every day, losing from a few bucks to several hundred dollars if the company makes it hard for you to cancel an order. How can practices like this be stopped?

Here's how.

I'd received complaints about Central Coast Nutraceuticals (CCN), seller of AcaiPure and HoodiaCore, and was getting stonewalled by them. Then I learned that Terry Goddard, Arizona's attorney general, had filed a civil suit against Phoenix-based CCN alleging consumer fraud.

Goddard's account matched the letters I'd been getting from AARP members: CCN had hooked them with a trial offer, then shipped them—and billed them for—products they'd never ordered.

I knew what to do next. Like Woodward and Bernstein, I followed the money.

CCN's online sales are by credit card. Card issuers want to cut down on dubious vendors, don't they? They'd at least suspend CCN pending a court ruling, wouldn't they?

It turned out Goddard's suit was news to the masters of plastic—a communications gap I happily filled. One company acted immediately: within three hours of  being informed of Arizona's suit, American Express terminated CCN's merchant account.

Visa, MasterCard, and Discover Card were slower to act—with Discover, it was six weeks—but eventually all of them cut off CCN.

All but shut down, CCN quickly settled with Goddard, agreeing to change its business practices and pay $1,375,000 in fines and restitution.

Our thanks to the credit card companies and Terry Goddard for making this the biggest On Your Side victory to date.

HOW TO GET YOUR MONEY BACK

If you believe you were a victim of CCN's deceptive marketing, file a complaint by August 17 to be eligible for restitution from the settlement. Request a complaint/restitution form from the Arizona attorney general's office or by calling 800-352-8431 (602-542-5763 in Arizona).

Ron Burley is the author of Unscrewed: The Consumer's Guide to Getting What You Paid For (Ten Speed Press, 2006). You can read his journal on AARP.org, where there's also a new On Your Side column every two weeks.

Submit your own question for consideration in a future On Your Side column.

 

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Life insurance: you are covered rain or shine

Exclusive annuities for members from AARP Lifetime Income Program from New York Life.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Homeowners Insurance
Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points