MERCURY photographer Jeff Searle is warning people to check what they are signing up for when they buy weight-loss pills online.
He had purchased tubs of Rasberry Ketone capsules and Aloe Vera tablets for £4.95 each in a special offer he had seen on Facebook, which he said appeared to be endorsed by a celebrity comedian.
He said: “I’m on a diet at the moment and I thought these would help. I thought the advert was persuasive.
“It explained how the Rasberry Ketone pills help you to burn fat and the Aloe Vera tablets were supposed to cleanse your system, all alongside dieting. I thought I’d give it a try.
“But in small print, which I didn’t see, it said by placing the order you are agreeing to a contract to receive further orders and if you wanted to cancel it within 14 days you must notify them. I thought this was a special offer and was not aware I had signed up for more.”
Two weeks after receiving the pills, another package, which Jeff did not deliberately order, arrived on his doorstep with a blank invoice.
After enquiring with his bank he discovered he had been charged £178 for the surprise order.
“They’d taken £89 for each tablet type,” said Jeff.
“My bank said by law the company could take it, because it was a contract, but we got in touch the fraud department to ask for more details about the situation and put a block on the payment. I also emailed the company and cancelled the contract.
“The bank said 12 other local people had reported this in one week alone.”
The issue arises as a result of the way the supplier works, rather than as a result of the products themselves.
The Mercury contacted the websites listed on Jeff’s invoice but had not received a response at the time of going to press.
Meanwhile and separately, in recent weeks several celebrities have denied endorsing similar diet pills after apparently being linked to them in marketing activity.
Anyone who has been affected should contact their bank immediately.