How Not to Get Scammed On Supplements Online
The online marketplace is one of the coolest things to come out of the past twenty years. Now, with only a credit card you can order just about anything online and find the best price as well.
Unfortunately, this also opened the door to a lot of scammers that will sell you “free trials” of real-sounding “best weight loss supplements” where you “pay for shipping only.” What you’ll end up discovering is not do the supplements not work, but you’ve been swindled into a monthly or weekly auto-ship where you pay $50 a bottle and cannot even cancel because their customer support line is just a recording no one listens to.
We want you to avoid all that so here are some guidelines for how to make sure you’re always safe when shopping for supplements.
I Got Scammed On Supplements Online… Now What?
#1 The News Doesn’t Report on Weight Loss Miracles
Any article you see on supplements that begins with “BREAKING NEWS!” is almost certainly fake. What resellers will do is purchase a domain like “abc-news-today.bz” and post a web page that looks like a legitimate article, complete with a picture of a sexy Swedish journalist named Ivana next to the column.
The fact is that news teams don’t go on the hunt to track an amazing weightloss epidemic that is spanning nationwide thanks to this special berry. And if they ever do, you can trust they won’t start linking to suppliers so you can buy 2 minutes after seeing the “article.”
Think you wouldn’t fall for any of this?
Some can be very convincing and will even copy a legitimate news site’s format down to the color of the page border. Another sneaky thing is you might have come to this fake “ABC News” page from ABC News itself! Some advertisers are very slick about buying a banner ad and making it look like a link to another news story at the same site. So yeah, I guess that means you can’t trust even the actual news site to steer you the right way.
#2 Every Review is Biased
Now there are some reliable sources online that rate supplements but they are extremely hard to find and verify. In general, if someone provides a link to the website where you can buy, they’re usually getting a piece of the action.
There’s a type of online business called affiliate marketing where people get a percentage commission for getting people to buy through their own link. This isn’t a bad thing and can be a very legitimate way of making money.
However, since just about anyone can sign up to be an affiliate, you get very unscrupulous people writing anything they possibly can to get someone to click that link and buy. This list identifies some of the biggest supplement affiliate programs that are easy to access.
Some people will say they used the product themselves and others will say that they were “skeptical until they saw the scientific research.” Since they’re not ALL lying, just treat that information as if it were something your cab driver mumbled to you on your way to the airport. Something that could be worth investigating but… yeah, something a cab driver was mumbling so it’s probably bullshit.
#3 Assume Testimonials are Fake
Even if testimonials were 100% true, you would still be in the dark for how much that person was exercising, what their overall diet was, what their genetics was, and how representative their story is of the customers who buy the product. Testimonials work as an emotional appeal because back in caveman days, we had only maybe 150 people in the tribe, so if 4 people said something, it was probably reliable for everybody.
That being said, plenty of fitness companies and affiliates also manufacture testimonials out of thin air. Some hire actors and don’t disclose it, while others simply just grab images of Google search and then paste creative testimonials that they just wrote themselves.
#4 Never Trust Someone You Haven’t Met
Have you ever visited a forum and been appalled the trash talk people give to each other? You can say “Top Gun was awesome in 1988” and someone writes back “That was 1986, genius. Why don’t you go back to school u retard?”
That same guy probably couldn’t even look you in the eye if he had to say, “Excuse me” to get by you in the grocery store. Yet you have millions of people talking tough as if they’re card-carrying members of the Hell’s Angels.
Well, just like people are infinitely more comfortable talking tough in a forum than face to face… they’re also infinitely more comfortable trying to scam someone online than over a retail store counter.
Yes, there are some liars everywhere, but the fact is that if you go to a Nutrition Zone or even a GNC (where they’re brainwashed to sell you the corporate items), the salespeople still know that you can return and complain if they’re caught lying about a supplement or being deceptive on billing.
So the best thing you can do is to go to several supplement stores and talk to people. Independent ones that don’t create their own products are best because their salespeople are more often exercise and nutrition enthusiasts who would love nothing more than to tell you “Half that stuff on the wall is junk, I’ll tell you what actually works.”
Visit enough of those independent places and you should be in a much better position.
And in the end, talk to personal trainers you trust and nutrition specialists you know personally. This industry will continue to be one where you have to watch your back and do your research.