Forskolin – It sounds vaguely indecent.

junk

Just got this in my spam box today. It appears that Dr. Oz has now moved from hawking garcinia cambogia to this new garbage, Forskolin. The name sounds thoroughly unsavory for reasons I won’t go into here.

I found a great post over at Science Based Medicine that says many of the things I’d normally post here, so I’ll just refer you to that article, and other posts on the same website are worth reading as well. One good quote I will extract – all of these weight-loss nostrums

“…fit the same pattern: a small grain of plausibility, inadequate research, exaggerated claims, and commercial exploitation. There are always testimonials from people who lost weight, probably because their will to believe in the product encouraged them to try harder to eat less and exercise. But enthusiasms and fads don’t last. A year later, the same people are likely to be on a new bandwagon for a different product. Dr. Oz will never lack for new ideas to bolster his ratings. Enthusiasm for easy solutions and for the next new hope will never flag as long as humans remain human.”

In short, it’s all bulldust. But as network marketers will tell you, health and wellness is a trillion-dollar industry, and everyone is trying to get a slice of that pie. As one associate put it, that business is big enough that it would be sufficient to lick the knife that cut the pie. The sad part is, the pie is a lie. Most of what is hawked and marketed has little or no value. As I mentioned over here, if you want to release weight, eat less, eat better, and exercise more.

As a final note, a couple of rules of thumb regarding spam messages like the one above.

  1. It’s a scam. Legitimate businesses don’t advertise using spam
  2. Never click the link that says “unsubscribe.” You’ve just confirmed to these unethical dipweeds that your email address is real and active. It will be sold to other scumbags, and your level of spam will increase.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

To lose weight, take these drops (oh, and eat a 1200 calorie diet…)

homeopathy-debunked-because-its-just-water

It’s not good medicine for a representative of one nutritional product to bash those who rep for another. In my world of ethics, it’s just not done. As a result, I won’t mention any product names in this post, but I want to make a general comment about the way many weight-loss products are advertised and hyped.

Below you’ll find an example, using a homeopathic product as the teacher in the moment, which claims to flush fat and toxins out of your body.

The product concerned contains a panoply of things like Nux Vomica, Ignatia Amara, and about 8 others at 6x and 12x dilutions; the instructions call for placing 10-15 drops under the tongue three times a day.

Oh, yes… and also to eat a 125o-calorie diet while using the products (which cost $150.00 for a bottle of each).

The science behind homeopathic dilutions guarantees that at dilutions of 6X and 12X, there is virtually *no* active ingredient whatsoever in this product – no molecules are left. The physics of Avogadro’s number is incontrovertible.

If you consider the instructions for use of this product, and completely eliminate any reference to the product being referenced, any patient who faithfully complies with these guidelines will have success with weight loss.

Given the average caloric intake of 2,000 KCal for a female, a 1250 calorie diet will result in consistent weight loss, especially when combined with water intake and regular exercise. This weight loss will occur whether or not the patient

* takes homeopathic drops
* sings an aria from “Aida”
* stands on her head and spits nickels, or
* eats a spoonful of portland cement with each meal.

If you are a person of science and reason, you owe it to yourself to take a hard look at the scientific reality of what is going on with homeopathic or other similar weight-loss products, instead of being dazzled by all the marketing weasel words.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

 

Every Day with Rachael: Fraud, Spam, Scam

“Every day” is about how often I get fraud-promoting spam from this outfit. Today’s offering:

Subject: Re: (8)
From: <k.gerth@ricona.de>

To: <redactedt>

Hi. http://i-t-s.co.jp/_259.choice.of.many_.html?qafyvenafa55636598

While spam is usually best ignored, I follow some of these so I can keep my readership (and those searching the Net) informed of the scumminess out there. I have posted before about fraudulent garcinia cambogia websites, and this is more of the same, but with an added scummy twist at the end.

So follow that alphabet-soup link (I’ve damaged it, so you can’t click on it and add to their rankings) and you get this:

rachael

The usual shill garbage, with a great video from the ever-present Dr. Oz, hawking the miraculous yadda yadda.

If you’re sucker enough to order, here’s what you get:

Scam

Pay attention to a couple of things here.

  1. Notice that I have “selected” buy three, get two free. At a price of $31.80, that should be $95.40. But if you see where that arrow is pointing, you’ll notice that “Your Total” is $159.00… or $31.80 times five. So much for your two “free” bottles. Not to mention the usual retail baloney of “You Save $249.95” – and remember this garbage costs the manufacturer pennies to produce.
  2. If this were not enough, have a look at that “Terms and Conditions” link in tiny, gray type at the bottom. If you click that, this is what you see (there’s a lot, so you can focus on the red text):

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

By placing an order through this website, you agree to the terms and conditions set for the below. Please read through these terms carefully before placing your order and print a copy for future reference. Please also read our Privacy Policy regarding personal information provided by you, which is incorporated herein by reference.

Health Disclaimer

Any statements on this site or any materials or supplements distributed or sold by this site has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a history of heart conditions we suggest consulting with a physician before using any of our products. The results on all products are not typical and not everyone will experience these results.

YourTrimTrainer Terms:

By ordering this product, you agree to be enrolled in YourTrimTrainer.com. Try it out for 30 days at no charge. After the trial expires, you agree that your card will be charged $9.47 for continued access to all of the tools, support and training YourTrimTrainer.com provides. Your monthly membership will recur at $9.47 every month from the time your trial expires until you cancel. You must call 855-978-6683 to cancel your monthly membership.

Return Policy:

In order to obtain your full refund, contact customer service by phone and obtain an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) number to place on your package. Write this number on the outside of the shipping package, and send the product back to our fulfillment center at the address listed below, within thirty (30) days of the date you originally ordered the product. In order for your full refund to be processed the product must arrive at our fulfillment facility within thirty (30) days of the original purchase date. You pay for return shipping. There is a $5.95 restocking fee per unit you are returning. This fee will be taken out of the refund issued. Once our fulfillment center has received the package and relayed the correct information to us, you will be issued a refund.Your refund will be credited back to your bank account, and may take up to 3-5 business days to show in your statement, depending on the speed of the processing bank.

Address the return package to:

Please call customer service for return address, so we can make notes on your account

TERMS OF SERVICE
This Terms of Service (“TOS”) is a legally binding agreement made by and between this site (“we” or “us”) and you, personally and, if applicable, on behalf of the entity for whom you are using this web site (collectively, “you”). This TOS governs your use of this web site (“Web Site”) and the services we offer on the Web Site (“Services”), so please read it carefully. BY ACCESSING OR USING ANY PART OF THE WEB SITE, YOU AGREE THAT YOU HAVE READ, UNDERSTAND AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THIS TOS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO BE SO BOUND, DO NOT ACCESS OR USE THE WEB SITE.
INTERNET TECHNOLOGY AND THE APPLICABLE LAWS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS CHANGE FREQUENTLY. ACCORDINGLY, WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHANGES TO THIS TOS AT ANY TIME. YOUR CONTINUED USE OF THE WEB SITE CONSTITUTES ASSENT TO ANY NEW OR MODIFIED PROVISION OF THIS TOS THAT MAY BE POSTED ON THE WEB SITE.

1. Using the Web Site.
(a) Eligibility. Except as expressly provided below, Services may only be used by, and Membership is limited to, individuals who can form legally binding contracts under applicable law. Without limitation, minors are prohibited from becoming Members and, except as specifically provided below, using fee-based Services. Membership is defined by engaging in a purchase agreement with this site wherein you, the consumer purchase one of the products found on the Web Site.
(b) Compliance. You must comply with all of the terms and conditions of this TOS, the policies referred to below, and all applicable laws, regulations and rules when you use the Web Site.
(c) License and Restrictions. Subject to the terms and conditions of this TOS, you are hereby granted a limited, non-exclusive right to use the content and materials on the Web Site in the normal course of your use of the Web Site. You may not use any third party intellectual property without the express written permission of the applicable third party, except as permitted by law. The Website will retain ownership of its intellectual property rights and you may not obtain any rights therein by virtue of this TOS or otherwise, except as expressly set forth in this TOS. You will have no right to use, copy, display, perform, create derivative works from, distribute, have distributed, transmit or sublicense from materials or content available on the Web Site, except as expressly set forth in this TOS. You may not attempt to reverse engineer any of the technology used to provide the Services.
(d) Prohibited Conduct. In your use of the Web Site and the Services, you may not: (i) infringe any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, right of publicity or other right of any party; (ii) defame, abuse, harass, stalk any individual, or disrupt or interfere with the security or use of the Services, the Web Site or any web sites linked to the Web Site; (iii) interfere with or damage the Web Site or Services, including, without limitation, through the use of viruses, cancel bots, Trojan horses, harmful code, flood pings, denial of service attacks, packet or IP spoofing, forged routing or electronic mail address information or similar methods or technology; (iv) attempt to use another user’s account, impersonate another person or entity, misrepresent your affiliation with a person or entity, including (without limitation) the Website or create or use a false identity; (v) attempt to obtain unauthorized access to the Web Site or portions of the Web Site that are restricted from general access; (vi) engage, directly or indirectly, in transmission of “spam,” chain letters, junk mail or any other type of unsolicited solicitation; (vii) collect, manually or through an automatic process, information about other users without their express consent or other information relating to the Web Site or the Services; (viii) use any meta tags or any other “hidden text” utilizing this site name, trademarks, or product names; (ix) advertise, offer to sell, or sell any goods or services, except as expressly permitted by the Website; (x) engage in any activity that interferes with any third party’s ability to use or enjoy the Web Site or Services; or (xi) assist any third party in engaging in any activity prohibited by this TOS.
(e) Other Users. If you become aware of any conduct that violates this TOS, We encourage you to contact Customer Service. We reserve the right, but will have no obligation, to respond to such communications.

2. Your Content.
(a) License. By posting, storing, or transmitting any content on or to the Website, you hereby grant us a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable, right and license to use, copy, display, perform, create derivative works from, distribute, have distributed, transmit and sublicense such content in any form, in all media now known or hereinafter created, anywhere in the world. You hereby irrevocably waive any claims based on moral rights or similar theories, if any.
(b) Objectionable Content. We do not have the ability to control the nature of the user-generated content offered through the Web Site. You are solely responsible for your interactions with other users of the Web Site and any content that you post. We will not be liable for any damage or harm resulting from any content or your interactions with other users of the Web Site. We reserve the right, but have no obligation, to monitor interactions between you and other users of the Web Site and take any other action to restrict access to or the availability of any material that we or another user of the Web Site may consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable (including, without limitation, because it violates this TOS).

3. Accuracy of Information.
We attempt to ensure that the information on the Web Site is complete and accurate; however, this information may contain typographical errors, pricing errors, and other errors or inaccuracies. We assume no responsibility for such errors and omissions, and reserve the right to: (i) revoke any offer stated on the Web Site; (ii) correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions; and (iii) make changes to prices, content, promotions, product descriptions or specifications, or other information on the Web Site.

4. Sales Tax.
If you purchase any products available on the Web Site (“Products”), you will be responsible for paying any applicable sales tax indicated on the Web Site.

5. Fraud.
We reserve the right, but undertake no obligation, to actively report and prosecute actual and suspected credit card fraud. We may, in our discretion, require further authorization from you such as a telephone confirmation of your order and other information. We reserve the right to cancel, delay, refuse to ship, or recall from the shipper any order if fraud is suspected. We capture certain information during the order process, including time, date, IP address, and other information that will be used to locate and identify individuals committing fraud. If any Web Site order is suspected to be fraudulent, we reserve the right, but undertake no obligation, to submit all records, with or without a subpoena, to all law enforcement agencies and to the credit card company for fraud investigation. We reserve the right to cooperate with authorities to prosecute offenders to the fullest extent of the law.

6. Intellectual Property Rights.
(a) Copyright. All materials on the Web Site, including without limitation, the logos, design, text, graphics, other files, and the selection and arrangement thereof are either owned by us or are the property of our suppliers or licensors or other companies. You may not use such materials without permission.
(b) Trademarks. This site has a trade name we own. The related design marks, and other trademarks on the Web Site are owned by us. Page headers, custom graphics, button icons and scripts are trademarks or trade dress we own. You may not use any of these trademarks, trade dress, or trade names without our express written permission.

7. Third Party Websites.
This site may contain links to other websites on the Internet that are owned and operated by third parties. We do not control the information, products or services available on these third party websites. The inclusion of any link does not imply our endorsement of the applicable website or any association with the website’s operators. Because we have no control over such websites and resources, you agree that we are not responsible or liable for the availability or the operation of such external websites, for any material located on or available from any such websites or for the protection of your data privacy by third parties. Any dealings with, or participation in promotions offered by, advertisers on the Website, including the payment and delivery of related goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings or promotions, are solely between you and the applicable advertiser or other third party. You further agree that we shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any loss or damage caused by the use of or reliance on any such material available on or through any such site or any such dealings or promotions.

8. Linking and Framing.
You may not deep link to portions of the Web Site, or frame, inline link, or similarly display any of our property, including, without limitation, the Web Site. You may not use any of our logos or other trademarks as part of a link without express written permission.

9. Comments.
All comments, feedback, suggestions, ideas, and other submissions that you disclose, submit or offer to us in connection with your use of the Web Site will become our exclusive property. Such disclosure, submission or offer of any Comments shall constitute an assignment to us of all worldwide right, title and interest in all patent, copyright, trademark, and all other intellectual property and other rights whatsoever in and to the Comments and a waiver of any claim based on moral rights, unfair competition, breach of implied contract, breach of confidentiality, and any other legal theory. You will, at our cost, execute any documents to affect, record, or perfect such assignment. Thus, we will own exclusively all such right, title and interest and shall not be limited in any way in the use, commercial or otherwise, of any Comments. You should not submit any Comments to us if you do not wish to assign such rights to us. We are and will be under no obligation: (i) to maintain any Comments in confidence; (ii) to pay to you or any third party any compensation for any Comments; or (iii) to respond to any Comments. You are and shall remain solely responsible for the content of any Comments you make.

10. Indemnification.
You agree to defend, indemnify and hold the Web Site, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, and their directors, officers, agents, members, shareholders, co-branders or other partners, employees, and Ad Partners harmless from any liabilities, losses, actions, damages, claims or demands, including reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses, made by any third party directly or indirectly relating to or arising out of (a) content you provide to the Web Site or otherwise transmit or obtain through the Service, (b) your use of the Service, (c) your connection to the Service, (d) your violation of this Agreement, (e) your violation of any rights of another or (f) your failure to perform your obligations hereunder. If you are obligated to provide indemnification pursuant to this provision, we may, in our sole and absolute discretion, control the disposition of any Claim at your sole cost and expense. Without limitation of the foregoing, you may not settle, compromise, or in any other manner dispose of any Claim without our consent.

11. DISCLAIMERS, EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS.
(a) DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES. WE PROVIDE THE WEB SITE, THE PRODUCTS, AND SERVICES ON AN “AS IS” AND “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. WE DO NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE PRODUCTS, THE WEB SITE, THE SERVICES, ITS USE, ANY INFORMATION ON IT: (I) WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR SECURE, (II) WILL BE FREE OF DEFECTS, INACCURACIES OR ERRORS, (III) WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, OR (IV) WILL OPERATE IN THE CONFIGURATION OR WITH OTHER HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE YOU USE. WE MAKE NO WARRANTIES OTHER THAN THOSE MADE EXPRESSLY IN THIS TOS, AND HEREBY DISCLAIM ANY AND ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, MERCHANTABILITY AND NON-INFRINGEMENT.
(b) DISCLAIMER OF FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS. THIS WEB SITE MAY CONTAIN FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS THAT REFLECT OUR CURRENT EXPECTATION REGARDING FUTURE EVENTS AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. THE FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS INVOLVE RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES. ACTUAL DEVELOPMENTS OR RESULTS COULD DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM THOSE PROJECTED AND DEPEND ON A NUMBER OF FACTORS, SOME OF WHICH ARE OUTSIDE OUR CONTROL.
(c) HEALTH RELATED INFORMATION. WE PROVIDE INFORMATION ON THE WEB SITE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT MEANT AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE OF A DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. YOU SHOULD NOT USE THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THE WEB SITE FOR DIAGNOSING OR TREATING A MEDICAL CONDITION. YOU SHOULD CAREFULLY READ ALL PRODUCT INSTRUCTIONS PRIOR TO USE.
(d) PRODUCTS. ALL PRODUCTS ARE SUBJECT ONLY TO ANY APPLICABLE WARRANTIES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE MANUFACTURERS, DISTRIBUTORS, AND SUPPLIERS, IF ANY, PROVIDED IN THE PRODUCT PACKAGING. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMISSIBLE BY APPLICABLE LAW, WE HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT, OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. WITHOUT LIMITING THE GENERALITY OF THE FOREGOING, WE HEREBY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIM ALL LIABILITY FOR PRODUCT DEFECT OR FAILURE CLAIMS THAT ARE DUE TO NORMAL WEAR, PRODUCT MISUSE, ABUSE, PRODUCT MODIFICATION, IMPROPER PRODUCT SELECTION, NON-COMPLIANCE WITH ANY CODES, OR MISAPPROPRIATION
(e) EXCLUSION OF DAMAGES. WE WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, INDIRECT, PUNITIVE OR SPECIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES RELATING TO LOST PROFITS, LOST DATA OR LOSS OF GOODWILL) ARISING OUT OF, RELATING TO OR CONNECTED WITH THE USE OF THE WEB SITE OR PRODUCTS, REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE OF ACTION ON WHICH THEY ARE BASED, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OCCURRING.
(f) LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. IN NO EVENT WILL OUR AGGREGATE LIABILITY ARISING FROM, RELATING TO, OR IN CONNECTION WITH THIS TOS (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, CLAIMS RELATING TO THE WEB SITE, OR THE PRODUCTS) EXCEED THE GREATER OF $100 OR THE AMOUNT THAT YOU PAID FOR THE PRODUCTS.

12. Force Majeure.
You acknowledge and understand that if the Web Site is unable to provide the Products as a result of a force majeure event the Website will not be in breach of any of its obligations towards You under these Terms of Service. A force majeure event means any event beyond the control of the Website. THE WEBSITE SHALL NOT HAVE ANY LIABILITY TO YOU WHETHER IN CONTRACT, WARRANTY, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR ANY OTHER FORM OF LIABILITY FOR FAILING TO PERFORM ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS AGREEMENT TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH FAILURE IS AS A RESULT OF A FORCE MAJEURE EVENT.

13. Domestic Use;
Export Restriction. We control the Web Site from our offices within the United States of America. We make no representation that the Web Site or its content (including, without limitation, any products or services available on or through the Web Site) are appropriate or available for use in other locations. Users who access the Web Site from outside the United States of America do so on their own initiative and must bear all responsibility for compliance with local laws, if applicable. Further, the United States export control laws prohibit the export of certain technical data and software to certain territories. No content from the Web Site may be downloaded in violation of United States law.

14. Arbitration.
All disputes arising out of or relating to this TOS (including its formation, performance or alleged breach) or your use of the Web Site will be exclusively resolved under confidential binding arbitration held in Utah before and in accordance with the Rules of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrator’s award will be binding and may be entered as a judgment in any court of competent jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, no arbitration under this TOS will be joined to an arbitration involving any other party subject to this TOS, whether through class arbitration proceedings or otherwise. Notwithstanding the foregoing, we will have the right to seek injunctive or other equitable relief in state or federal court located in Utah to enforce this TOS or prevent an infringement of a third party’s rights. In the event equitable relief is sought, each party hereby irrevocably submits to the personal jurisdiction of such court.

15. Waiver of Class Action Rights.
BY ENTERING INTO THIS TOS, YOU HEREBY IRREVOCABLY WAIVE ANY RIGHT YOU MAY HAVE TO JOIN CLAIMS WITH THOSE OF OTHERS IN THE FORM OF A CLASS ACTION OR SIMILAR PROCEDURAL DEVICE. ANY CLAIMS ARISING OUT OF, RELATING TO, OR CONNECTED WITH THIS TOS MUST BE ASSERTED INDIVIDUALLY.

16. Limitation of Actions.
You acknowledge and agree that, regardless of any statute or law to the contrary, any claim or cause of action you may have arising out of, relating to, or connected with your use of the Web Site, must be filed within one calendar year after such claim or cause of action arises, or forever be barred.

17. Modification of Terms of Service.
We reserve the right to change or modify these Terms of Use at any time and your continued use of this site will be conditioned upon the Terms of Use in force at the time of your use. You can always check the most current version of the Terms of Use at this page.

18. Termination.
We will have the right to terminate your access to the Web Site if we reasonably believe you have breached any of the terms and conditions of this TOS. Following termination, you will not be permitted to use the Web Site and we may, in our discretion, cancel any outstanding Product Orders. If your access to the Web Site is terminated, we reserve the right to exercise whatever means we deem necessary to prevent unauthorized access to the Web Site, including, but not limited to, technological barriers, IP mapping, and direct contact with your Internet Service Provider. This TOS will survive indefinitely unless and until we choose to terminate it, regardless of whether any account you open is terminated by you or us or if you have the right to access or use the Web Site.

19. Integration.
This TOS contains the entire understanding between you and us regarding the use of the Web Site, and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous agreements and understandings between you and us relating thereto.

20. Additional Terms.
This TOS will be binding upon each party hereto and its successors and permitted assigns, and governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State of Delaware without regard for conflict of law principles. This TOS and all of your rights and obligations under them may not be assignable or transferable by you without our prior written consent. No failure or delay by a party in exercising any right, power or privilege under this TOS will operate as a waiver thereof, nor will any single or partial exercise of any right, power or privilege preclude any other or further exercise thereof or the exercise of any other right, power, or privilege under this TOS. You are an independent contractor, and no agency, partnership, joint venture, or employee-employer relationship is intended or created by this TOS. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this TOS will not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision of this TOS, all of which will remain in full force and effect.

RESOLUTION AND ARBITRATION

1. Any dispute, controversy, damages or claim arising out of or relating in any way to the purchase or performance of the services from this site and any of its affiliates, including without limitation any dispute concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, enforceability or breach of the agreement, shall be exclusively resolved by binding arbitration upon a Party’s submission of the dispute to arbitration. [In the event of a dispute, controversy or claim arising out of or relating in any way to the agreement of all terms, the complaining Party shall notify the other Party in writing thereof. Within thirty (30) days of such notice, management level representatives of both Parties shall meet at an agreed location to attempt to resolve the dispute in good faith. Should the dispute not be resolved within thirty (30) days after such notice, the complaining Party shall seek remedies exclusively through arbitration.] The demand for arbitration shall be made within a reasonable time after the claim, dispute or other matter in question has arisen, and in no event shall it be made after two years from when the aggrieved party knew or should have known of the controversy, claim, dispute or breach.]

2. This agreement to arbitrate shall be specifically enforceable. A Party may apply to any court with jurisdiction for interim or conservatory relief, including without limitation a proceeding to compel arbitration.

3. The arbitration shall be conducted by one to three arbitrator[s]. If the Parties are not able to agree upon the selection of an arbitrator, within [twenty] days of commencement of an arbitration proceeding by service of a demand for arbitration, the arbitrator shall be selected by the American Arbitration Association or a federal court judge in Utah, shall select the arbitrator in accordance with the terms of this agreement. For three arbitrators, each party shall select an arbitrator within 10 days of commencement of the arbitration who shall serve as a neutral arbitrator and the two designated arbitrators shall select a third neutral arbitrator within 30 days of their selection if the parties cannot agree on a third arbitrator. If the two arbitrators cannot agree on selection of a third arbitrator within 30 days of their appointment, the American Arbitration Association or a federal judge in Utah shall select such arbitrator in accordance with the terms of this agreement.

4. The arbitrator[s] shall have 2 years of experience .

5. The arbitration shall be conducted in accordance with the then existing Commercial Rules of the American Arbitration Association.

6. The arbitration shall be conducted in a city in Utah County, Utah.

7. The laws of the State of Utah shall be applied in any arbitration proceedings, without regard to principles of conflict of laws.

8. It is the intent of the parties that, barring extraordinary circumstances, arbitration proceedings will be concluded within 240 days from the date the arbitrator[s] are appointed. The arbitrator[s] may extend this time limit in the interests of justice. Failure to adhere to this time limit shall not constitute a basis for challenging the award.

9. Except as may be required by law, neither a party nor its representatives may disclose the existence, content, or results of any arbitration hereunder without the prior written consent of all parties.

10. The Parties shall not be entitled to discovery.

11. The Parties shall exchange a copy of all exhibits for the arbitration hearing and shall identify each witness who will testify at the arbitration, with a summary of the anticipated testimony of such witness 30 days before the arbitration hearing.

12. The arbitrator[s] shall have no authority to award punitive, consequential, special or Indirect damages. The arbitrators shall not be entitled to issue injunctive and other equitable relief.

13. The cost of the arbitration proceeding and any proceeding in court to confirm or to vacate any arbitration award, as applicable (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs), shall be borne by the unsuccessful party, as determined by the arbitrators, and shall be awarded as part of the arbitrator’s award. It is specifically understood and agreed that any party may enforce any award rendered pursuant to the arbitration provisions of this Section by bringing suit in any court of competent jurisdiction. The parties agree that the arbitrator shall have authority to grant injunctive or other forms of equitable relief to any party. This Section shall survive the termination or cancellation of this Agreement.

14. Each party shall pay its own proportionate share of arbitrator fees and expenses [plus the fees and expenses of the arbitrator it designated (if there are three arbitrators] and the arbitration fees and expenses of the American Arbitration Association. The arbitrator[s] shall be entitled to award the foregoing arbitration and administrative fees and expenses as damages in his/her discretion.

 See that? You just committed yourself to a monthly charge of $9.47 with YourTrimTrainer.com… something you never heard of, and would very easily overlook on your monthly statement. But like the Energizer bunny, those charges will keep coming, and coming, and coming, until you call that number to cancel… and you can be sure there is someone on the end of that line who is very good at getting more money out of you, or obfusticating your cancellation efforts.

The rest of the language in these Terms and Conditions (which you didn’t click on, because nobody ever does) is a lot of legal weasel words which absolve the company from any responsibility, specify that the product basically won’t give you any results, and which make it next to impossible to cancel your order or get a refund. Even if you manage to get the product back to them within the deadline, which given mailing times is very unlikely, you’ll still get charged $5.95 restocking fee per unit, which in the case of this order would be $30.00. So they get you coming, and they get you going, and all you can do is bend over, because here it comes again.

If you want to become more informed about the scum and the scams, read this article at The Atlantic about Jesse Willms, the Dark Lord of the Internet.

It’s the story of a supremely corrupt scammer, and how current hucksters are still using techniques that he perfected – it makes me wonder if he’s not involved in this very dishonest style of marketing. The article also provides an in-depth analysis of shady internet advertising, with an emphasis on diet and health products, and look at Google’s true raison d’être. And as this post points out, it’s still going on everywhere.

Be careful out there.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

The weight-loss bra: is this breepy or crilliant?

131204110654-microsoft-smart-bra-story-topIn the “Stranger than Amazon’s Drones” department comes news of a new idea from Microsoft – a bra which monitors a woman’s vital signs and detects the kind of stress levels that signal overeating, then sending a message to the wearer’s phone telling her to stop chowing down.

Click through to the CNN article for more information if you are curious, but I have to say that this idea creeps me out on a number of different levels, all the while being intriguing.

People who want to release weight usually want all the help they can get, if they’re really motivated, so the idea of a biometric warning system is not bad in and of itself. It might actually give some people the extra incentive they need to watch portions.

But in a bra? Somehow, this seems to send a message that only women need to watch their food intake, or that only women have problems with excess weight.

Couldn’t one come up with a unisex band worn around the chest (below the bustline) that would accomplish the same thing, similar to the sporty heart monitors, or is Microsoft thinking about the weight loss jockstrap for guys, just to keep the playing field level? This device, of course, instead of sending a message to the wearer’s phone would deliver a good strong shock to the “boys,” because guys need extra incentive and they’re all tough as nails, right?

Whatever the case, they didn’t ask me. And while I love all things geeky, this one seems to cross the line from smart into disturbing.

The Old Wolf has spoken.

Weight Loss Lies, Redux (for the jillionth time)

We’ve all seen the spam. Weight loss, sexual enhancers, body part enlargers… it’s a never-ending stream. Spam is so cheap to send out and requires such a small percentage of turnover relative to how much is blasted out that it will always be profitable for goons and drones and paid affiliates to engage in this shady enterprise.

But it always surprises me when hqiz like this goes mainstream.

If you’re not convinced yet, let me show you one that showed up in my email this morning.

Lies

Wow! Wouldn’t you like results that amazing? Wow! Based on the images, the happy lady in those pictures up there has lost at least 30 pounds, and likely more – all in the brief space of 30 days.

Never mind that healthy weight loss takes place at the rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week… whatever this weight loss secret is, I gotta get me some of that! And Dr. Oz is happy to hawk it, right alongside last year’s green coffee extract, or the confusum combobulosum he was hawking before that.

At least the ad above didn’t use the “one weird old trick” line, even though that’s still being used everywhere. But it’s still 100% pure, unadulterated camel ejecta. Snake Oil. Garbage.

What is it? Well, let’s dig a bit.

Doing the “show source” dance from my email client, we find that this ad will direct you to

http://rincomplex.com/UQWbhbuS/ObXtnsJa_ApdXupIv/r-MjIwZTAxOWMhYzZw
OTBwOTRwNzMhZmRiMjchNDIyIXBhZDAxfGNvbSFydHB1cmVnYW5pYWNwYz
EwNThjbWRmcmohZHRidDdkZCEw/X9iBg

Ain’t that a mouthful? These dynamically-generated URL’s are one of the first clues that a particular website is illicit, shady, or otherwise disreputable. What’s more, if you reverse-hack the URL to just “rincomplex.com”, you find a placeholder website full of dummy text and randomly-scraped news articles. They might as well have filled it with lorem ipsum.

But never mind that… I toddled over to the website and found this:

Garcinia

Ok, so this “miracle product” is garcinia cambogia. Along with the typical shameless infomercial/show by Oz, the Great and Powerful. But pay no attention to the little man behind that screen, folks – if you plunk down your money in the hopes of losing weight fast, fast, fast, you’re going to be disappointed.  But before we get into the substance itself, let’s look at how insistent and immoral the marketing practice is.

If you scroll down the page above and express interest, you’ll need to provide your contact information in full – information which will be immediately sold on to other scam companies by this disreputable marketing outfit. If you try to leave the page by using your “back” button or closing your browser, you’ll get this:

confirm

Wow, 60% discount. Maybe I’d better stick around. But both options (expressing interest or trying to leave) take you to the same “special discount” page anyway. Now, notice that you got promised a 60% discount plus free shipping, but the page below says it’s “Over 30%”. But on top of that, I’ve mentioned it before – any website that employs this tactic to try to get you to buy is immediately flagged as both spammy and scammy in my book, and the fact that they’re still doing it shows me that it’s effective. Please, don’t fall victim to these snake-oil vendors.

Image1

So, depending on how gullible you are, you’ll spend between $148.00 and $48.00 for some herbs of questionable effectiveness (more about that later) and spurious quality.

If you’re still not convinced, you get another popup:

Image2

Image3

Now it’s a BOGO offer – buy one, get one free. But you’re still spending that 48.00, which was the minimum purchase level on the previous screen.

Nah, I think I’ll pass… but WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! We don’t have your money yet, and by all that’s holy we want some of it.

Image4

So now you’re up to an 80% discount…

Image5

Just give us your information, send us a double sawbuck, and we’ll consider ourselves winners (and you a loser.) But really, who could turn down such an amazing offer, with free shipping no less?

Some people can, but there’s one final hook for them:

Image6

Only fi’dollars. Just a fin. That’s hardly nuttin’, mister. So if you click “Stay on this page,” you get their rock-bottom offer:

Image6a

Click on this to claim your offer, and see what you’ve won!

Image7a

So you greedily fill out the form, thinking you’ve sure pulled one over on these boobs… but you’ve failed to notice that tiny, tiny print up there that says “terms apply.” What in the world could those terms be?

Image8

So if you read the fine print down there at the bottom of the page, you discover that you need to call them within 14 days to get that $4.99 price. If you don’t, they’ll gleefully charge your credit card for $29.95, ten bucks more than their previous offer, and you find yourself enrolled in an “autoship” program whereby they’ll send you a new bottle every 30 days, for the low low price of only $29.95.

Great Mogg’s tufted ears, folks – why in the name of all that’s holy would you do business with a checkered-suit operation like this? They get you coming, they get you going, and if they get their hooks into you, they’ll never let go.

So before we sign off for today, let’s have a quick look at this garcinia cambogia and see what it’s really all about.

If you look up garcinia at WebMD, you find that it’s marketed under various names:

Acide Hydroxycitrique, AHC, Brindal Berry, Brindle Berry, Cambogia gummi-guta, Garcinia Cambogi, Garcinia cambogia, Garcinia gummi-guta, Garcinia quaesita, Gorikapuli, Hydroxycitrate, Hydroxycitric Acid, HCA, Kankusta, Malabar Tamarind, Mangostana cambogia, Tamarinier de Malabar, Vrikshamla.

As well as this insightful description:

Garcinia is a plant. The fruit rind is used to make medicine. Don’t confuse garcinia with Garcinia hanburyi (gamboge resin).
How does it work?
Developing research suggests that garcinia might prevent fat storage and control appetite;
however, whether these effects occur in humans is unclear.

But as I have mentioned before, a single scientific study or even some preliminary research is enough to get the media to latch on to those results and get some advertising clicks out of it – and if that starts to happen, the marketeers come from the voodvork out.

Click a little further into WebMD and you find the User Ratings page for the product – reviews which look a whole lot different from the shill-written reviews on the marketing pages:

  • Been taking it for 3 weeks. Have not lost one pound. Have been sleeping more soundly, though. Biggest problem is that my whole body has started to ache. And my joints hurt. I thought at first it was because of my workouts, which I had increased- but I stopped for a week and the pain is still there. I just read on another website that is you are taking stati. Drugs for high cholesterol – which I do – it can exacerbate the negative effects of those drugs and cause muscle degeneration and joint pain. Guess I will be stopping this supplement.
  • Didn’t lose any weight, often had GI upset
  • I have been using this product for one week. Yes it suppresses your appetite but I have had a migraine for the entire week. Stopped taking it…..no headache. Not worth it.

Check the reviews yourself. Oh, and side effects?

  • Garcinia is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when used for 12 weeks or less. Long-term safety is unknown. Garcinia can cause nausea, digestive tract discomfort, and headache.
  • Special Precautions & Warnings:
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of garcinia during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

“Possibly safe?” Wow, that means it might not hurt me. The bottom line is that sufficient scientific research on this and most other herbal supplements is woefully inadequate – randomized, double-blind, placebo-based studies over decades are usually required to give a clear picture of how safe and effective any substance is to take into your body.

But the salespeople don’t want you to know that, and they pay people like Dr. Oz big bucks to hawk these products, which nets them millions of dollars from poor yutzes like you and me, if we’re foolish enough to pay attention to their pestilential marketing campaigns.

One last point: be careful not to assume that I’m saying all natural remedies are worthless or dangerous. That’s not the case. But the vast majority of the things you see hawked on the internet or on these infomercial-style media advertisements are there for only one reason – to get your money based on false promises and false hope. If you’re interested in releasing weight, my recommendations can be found here – scroll to the bottom of the page and find the section entitled “So if you’re interested in releasing weight, what can you do?

If you’re wanting to be lighter and thinner, the odds are you can be – but as I’ve said before and often and don’t care who hears it: there’s no magic bullet. Save your money.

The Old Wolf has spoken.


Oh, and who’s sending this garbage email out?

Pure Garcinia Cambogia
530 Lake Avenue #501 (Appears to be the Pasadena Rug Mart)
Pasadena, CA 91101

and their spam affiliate,

“Multispecialty Medical Groups”
1231 Northern Lights Blvd, #569 (A post office box at a UPS Store)
Anchorage, AK 99503

Açaí, a Sigh, Assai! – The Great Weight Loss Scam

(Cross-posted from my LiveJournal)

If you haven’t heard about the “Açaí Berry / Colon Cleanse” diet rage, you’re either a luddite or have been living in a cave somewhere.

  

It astonishes and saddens me that people in the 21st century continue cheerfuly sending money to scammers in the hopes of getting something for nothing, or losing weight without effort.

Enough, already. This particular scam, which has flooded infomercials, targeted advertising and AdSense slots, and promoted (like just about every other fraud, as having been seen on Oprah, MSNBC, and the Dark Side of the Moon), is

a) unadulterated horse-hockey that redlines the BS-meter, and
b) potentially harmful to your health.

So here are a few facts.

1) People want your money, they don’t care about your health, and you are being lied to. The outright dishonesty with which this “miracle diet” is promoted should be enough of a red flag to send anyone with half a brain screaming in the opposite direction. Want some examples? Check out the açai scams update at Waffles At Noon. The deception goes many, many layers deep. Look up “açai berry scams”, and most of the links either take you to more product websites, or fraudulent E-zine articles or “blogs” which look like “unbiased” reviews. The depth and breadth of advertising fraud is absolutely heart-stopping, and it’s “all about the Benjamins, baby.”

2) There is nothing special about the açaí berry. Antioxidants are good. Virtually thousands of randomized, double-blind, placebo-based studies published in JAMA, Lancet and other mainstream medical journals show that free-radical scavengers help improve overall health. Fruits are full of antioxidants. The açaí berry is a fruit. Just like strawberries, kiwis, oranges, grapefruits, pomegranates, mangosteens, ningxia wolfberries, and you name it. When consumed as part of a balanced diet, they’re all good for you. But there is nothing “miraculous” about this or any other fruit.

3) Colon cleansing is unnecessary and potentially harmful. Your colon is an amazing apparatus. With the exception of abnormal medical conditions such as fecal impaction due to longstanding constipation, or intestinal torsion, your colon cleanses itself efficiently and regularly. If you do a colon cleanse, you’re likely to lose a few pounds as the result of clearing out two days worth of food in your system, but as soon as you start eating again, it will come right back. Colon cleansing on a regular basis can disrupt the natural intestinal flora, and impair the colon’s natural ability to regenerate its lining. A diet rich in soluble and insoluble fibers is all your body needs to keep your colon happy, and doing what it does best – absorbing nutrients and expelling wastes.

4) Detoxification is something your body does all by itself. There are three ways the body handles toxins. It can store them, neutralize them, or excrete them. Adequate fiber in the diet increases the motility of the bowel, reducing transit time and thereby decreasing the amount of time any potential toxins are present in the colon, thus reducing reabsorption. An adequate supply of vitamins, minerals and co-factors in the diet ensure that the liver is given all the tools it needs either to convert toxins into harmless compounds, or conjugate them with other molecules, rendering them less toxic, and eject them along with the bile.

So if you’re interested in releasing weight, what can you do?

Eat less, eat better, and exercise more. There, I’ve just saved you hundreds of dollars. There really is no other answer to sustained weight release.

A few pointers:

Eating is fun. We like to eat tasty, appetizing and satisfying foods. And you can, and still lose weight. One of my favorite books (with which I have no affiliation or financial interest) is Picture Perfect Weight Loss. While I don’t necessarily recommend this specific program above certain others, if you want an eye-popping look at really yummy, healthy eating alternatives, this is a good book to keep around. It will get you thinking along the right lines.

Low-glycemic eating makes sense. Low-Carb diets are bad for you. Carbohydrates are your body’s primary energy source, and robbing your body of carbs makes it turn to secondary sources of energy which can have deleterious effects on your overall health. However, as a nation we are addicted to high-density carbs which have the effect of rocketing our blood sugar into the stratosphere. When this happens, a chain-reaction of events takes place:

a) Your body releases insulin to bring the blood sugar down to normal.
b) Because this is a “red alert” reaction, blood sugar levels tend to fall below healthy levels.
c) In response to this, your body releases a cascade of hormones to promote conversion of fat into glucose, and also stimulate your appetite.
d) You typically reach for something quick, unhealthy and satisfying – and the cycle starts all over again.

Thus we find ourselves in a constant blood sugar loop of spike and crash, spike and crash – and as we do so, our insulin levels become elevated over time. Since insulin is your body’s primary fat-storage hormone, hyperinsulinemia is effectively telling your body to store fat no matter what else you do. This is the main reason people fail at weight loss: they are carb-addicted and can’t break the sugar-spiking cycle.

Your body does best when blood-sugar levels are kept in a very narrow band just above your fasting glucose baseline. To do this, choose foods that have a glycemic index below 55, and a glycemic load below 10, and eat smaller, more frequent meals. In addition to all the physical benefits of not spiking your blood sugar, such as reducing the arterial aging rate, it helps you stay satisfied and functions as a defense against binge eating.

Get Social Help If you want a commercial plan to help you along, I recommend Weight Watchers. (Again, I have no financial interest here.) I say this because their rates are reasonable, you don’t have to buy special foods, and because their plans (point-based or an essentially low-glycemic list of core foods) give you the flexibility you need to enjoy life and still be successful.

Exercise. Just do it. 5 times a week. Get off your duff and move, getting your heart rate up for 20 minutes at the very least, and your body will thank you for it.

Get adequate vitamin support. I’m not going to tell you what to take, because I happen to promote a specific solution and I’m trying to keep this unbiased. What I will tell you is that out of thousands of products on the market, there are only about 4 or 5 companies who provide an adequate balance of vitamins, minerals and co-factors for optimal health, and almost none of them are found on grocery-store shelves. Do your research. For a number of reasons, this is a critcal part of a good weight-release plan.

Drink plenty of water. Your liver is essential in weight-release. If you get dehydrated, your kidneys don’t function as well, and shift some of the detoxification process over to your liver, which is then less able to perform its fat-burning functions. 8 oz of water, 8 times a day is baseline, with an added 8 oz. per day for every 25 lbs of extra weight you are carrying.

As a nation, we’re obsessed with weight loss, because 30% of us are morbidly obese, and 65% of us are overweight. That means that the sleazeballs will come crawling out of the woodwork to sell you anything you’ll buy.

Do yourself a huge favor, and stay away from it all. There is no magic bullet.