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Magic pills on the Internet

06/19/2013
 

Consumers are getting more and more interested in the Internet. It is comfortable, we don't have to leave our homes, we can choose from an incredibly wide range of products, compare prices and ratings left by other users. However, such "distance shopping" has its risks as well, and if we are not cautious enough, we can often get into trouble and lose our hard-earned money.

No one can guarantee a 100% safety when shopping online, but you yourselves can strengthen your position by knowing you rights and paying attention to the information you get about a supplier on their website.

CAFIA devotes a lot of time to the quality checks of foodstuffs offered on the Internet, but if the supplier resided outside the Czech Republic, the competences of CAFIA are limited. And this is often the case with "magic pills" offers, especially the ones intended for weight loss, breasts enlargement or potency. And because the ways that lead to ordering such magic pills show a lot of common and typical features, we would like to share with you some experience and observations gained when checking these websites or investigating your motions.

A way to a "miracle" usually has 3 stages:

  • Everything usually begins with a banner or an email in your mail box where you learn of a new, 100% effective product that promises for instance a 10kg weight loss within a week! If this offer attracts your attention, you click on the link.

  • You are directed to a website that leaves the impression that it deals, for instance, with healthy diet. You read excited information about miraculous effects of a new product called XYZ. The information is supported by lots of positive opinions an "before" and "after" pictures. You find the following message on the website: "Advertising – click here to try it!" And because you are curious, you click on it.

  • The page you have been redirected to focuses on the miraculous product XYZ, the product is praised even more, and everything is supported by positive feedback from satisfied customers. At the bottom of the page an online order is displayed – you only need to enter your personal information an order the product.

...BUT watch out! If you order the product and the order is confirmed afterwards, it means that you and the supplier have remotely concluded a contract in accordance with the Civil Code. It is therefore highly desirable to learn something of the one you are about to conclude a contract with before doing so. You will avoid disappointment and problems.

Ask yourself a simple question – who is on the other side? What's the supplier's name and where does he reside? A website may be written in Czech and the price of pills may be stated in Czech Crowns, but this does not automatically mean that the supplier resides in the Czech Republic! If there are no contact details on the order page, try and click on the "Terms and Conditions". The information about the supplier is usually indicated there.

And in the cases of magic pills, the supplier is often a company residing outside the Czech Republic, usually even outside the European Union. This of course doesn't automatically mean that this company is untrustworthy and its products are bad. But it does mean that if you are not satisfied, the subsequent communication may be problematic and that checking this supplier exceeds the competence of Czech inspection authorities.

If you want to order pills from abroad anyway, we strongly recommend you to read Terms and Conditions at least. You will avoid possible unpleasant surprises.

CAFIA cares about whatfood supplements are offered on the Internet and about the fact that customers often face misleading practices. Using this web portal, we would like to inform you regularly about the problems you may experience when shopping online.

 

So what to beware of?

 

  • Check the appearance of the website; do you find it trustworthy? Focus on finding the supplier's name and residence.

  • Read Terms and Conditions – you will, for example, find out that:

    • the supplier resides outside the Czech Republic, and often even outside the EU, so all possible legal disputes will be dealt with in accordance with the legislation of the country where the supplier resides...

    • if you do not accept the delivery of a product, the supplier may claim postage refund...

    • if you make a complaint because the food supplement does not have the alleged effects, the supplier may request a written prove – e.g. a medical report indicating your weight before you started using the pills and after you stopped using them...

    • if your complaint is accepted and you money refunded, the refund does not include postage...

    • if you are refunded, (often expensive) postage is not included in the refund.

                                                                                                                        

In order for you not to feel you're facing this alone, CAFIA is creating a list of the web pages that may be risk and whose content contradicts the legal provisions of both the EU and the Czech Rep. (e.g. due to illegal statements concerning health).

 A small "list of risk websites and product" will hopefully be created in the future to help you shop online more safely.

 

Author: Ing. Veronika Válková - 55512 PhD.