Colon Cleanse 3000, which sparked numerous consumer complaints throughout 2009 for its "free trial offer" that turned into expensive shipments of unordered product, is now triggering a new wave of complaints.
Consumers who disputed the unauthorized charges last year are now receiving calls from collection agencies demanding payment of the unauthorized charges.
"Today, in the mail, I get not one but two collection notices from two different collection companies stating I owe money for the product," Yolette, of Colorado Springs, Colo. Told ConsumerAffairs.com last month.
Yolette said she received the unordered product last July and returned it in the box it was shipped in, unopened and marked "return to sender."
"Interesting that they wait eight months to take this action and not once in the past eight months have they every billed me. If this hits my credit report I am going to hire an attorney. This charge is false and this attempt to get money from me is illegal."
Sean, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, said he ordered the "trial product" seven months ago and cancelled almost immediately. He thinks one scam has segued into another.
"I just received a collection letter from Healthy Online Services on their behalf," he told ConsumerAffairs.com. "Ok, Colon Cleanse 3000 is out of business. They are now sending letters to all their past customers under a new business name trying to scare them into paying."
Colon Cleanse 3000 stopped advertising and stopped taking orders last year. Sean suspects that Healthy Online Services is simply the old company under a new name.
"Healthy Online Services represents themselves as a third party collector, but after a few phone calls I found out they are in-house. From there I did some research, and I suspect it's actually just the same company," Sean said.
When Sean demanded that Healthy Online Services produce a proof of purchase and information about the debt, he said he got nowhere with the debt collector.
"I repeated that I was disputing the debt and they were required to give me all information regarding the company, and I should not need to go online to get it," Sean said. "At that he told me that he did not have any information. So I stated that if he did not have the information and refused to provide the information, that this is not a valid debt that he could collect on and that I would contact the attorney general should any further action be taken. He was then able to magically check my account and see that it was indeed cancelled and apologized for the trouble."
Sean may have uttered the magic words when he said "attorney general." For others in a similar situation, reporting a suspected scam to your state attorney general's office should be a first step. The attorney general is probably the one government official scammers actually fear.
Colon Cleanse 3000 was advertised on radio and the Internet, promising consumers a free trial-sized bottle. However, to receive the "free" bottle consumers had to pay $2 for shipping, using a credit or debit card. By the time the consumer received the "free" bottle, their credit cards had often been charged more than $80 for a full bottle.
Consumers should never pay for a "free sample" of anything, as it is usually a ruse to obtain a credit or debit card number. With that information, the company can put any charges on the card and force the consumer to dispute it.
To read more complaints about Colon Cleanse 3000, click here.