Diet Company Mostly Slimmed Bank Accounts, AG Says

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When Matthew Eichinger of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin signed on for a one-time free offer of diet pills from Momentum Direct, a weight-loss and skin-care company operated by a pair of local Texans, he had no idea it would end up costing him nearly $1,300.

But that’s exactly what happened. And according to Houston’s chapter of the Better Business Bureau, Eichinger was hardly alone. All toll, says Monica Teachout of the BBB, the organization received nearly 700 complaints about the company stretching back to 2005.

“Customers were under the assumption that they were only paying for shipping and handling, which was $4.84,” Teachout tells Hair Balls. “But what happened is that they got your credit card number, your checking account number, and they continued to debit your account.”

Over the past six months, says Teachout, Momentum Direct charged Eichinger $58.93 a total of 22 times, costing him $1,296.46.

“It’s a pretty bad company,” Teachout says.

Turns out the Texas Attorney General agrees, last week filing against the company in Harris County District Court. Also named in the complaint were the company’s two chief operators, Robert B. Jones of Harris County and Christopher M. Jones of Montgomery County.

According to the complaint, consumers were unable to cancel their orders, did not receive funds back for canceled orders and the company continued to charge them even after they canceled their orders.

In addition, some consumers received unsolicited products from Momentum Direct and were charged for the product. Many customers had to close their bank accounts in order to stop the company from continually making unauthorized charges, the complaint states.

The two Joneses also did business under the names Momentum Health & Nutrition, Momentum Worldwide, Momentum Fax on Demand, and advertised online using the web sites momentumdirect.net, 2dayslimdown.net, permaslim.com, and 20minutefacelift.com.

The A.G. is asking to court to award consumers the money that was taken from them in addition to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

-- Chris Vogel

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