East Texan Upset over "Focus Factor" Charges - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/14/04 - Gladewater

East Texan Upset over "Focus Factor" Charges

Improving your health, risk free. That's the claim of the dietary supplement, Focus Factor. But many customers have gotten more than they bargained for with the product. The commercial has bombarded the airwaves. Focus Factor claims to be a dietary supplement that supports memory, concentration and focus. And for a small shipping and handling charge, you can try it risk free.

"With satisfied customers in all 50 states, now is your chance to try Focus Factor absolutely free," says Vital Basics President Rob Gray in the commercial.

That claim proved too good to be true for Shannon Pope of Gladewater. She used her debit card to purchase the product for her mother.

"I got the Focus Factor, and I was charged the $4.95," said Pope. "Then, last week, whenever I was going through my statements, I noticed a $299.95 charge to my account."

The company told her the charge was for insurance she never asked for. But the charges didn't stop there.

"I guess before [the bank] had a chance to cancel my debit card, [Vital Basics] turned right around and charged $159.85 again to my account," added Pope.

Kay Robinson of the Better Business Bureau says Vital Basics, the company that makes Focus Factor, is notorious for this type of business practice.

"Lots, and lots and lots of complaints," said Robinson. "One bureau has had 294 complaints from consumers in the last 12 months."

In fact, a quick scan of the Better Business Bureau in Maine, where the company is based, shows an "unsatisfactory" record. The Federal Trade Commission fined the company one million dollars last month for unsubstantiated advertising claims. To top it off, Shannon says, the product didn't even work.

"No, it didn't work at all," said Pope. "In fact, I think she's gotten worse. She forgets a lot."

For Shannon, it's definitely been a learning experience. In the future, she says she'll research any company she plans to do business with... even if they offer a risk free guarantee. We contacted the company today to get their response to the complaints. But, they have yet to provide any answers.

Kevin Berns reporting.

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