At this moment, I am listening to a commercial on the radio offering a free 28 day supply of ALTOVIS tablets, a once daily formulation of nutrients and a large quantity of natural caffeine. Touted as a tablet that reduces fatigue, boosts energy and enhances mental focus, I found myself attracted to the product and applied for the free samples on their internet site. The airwaves continue to be saturated with commercials for this product. Without any doubt, thousands of other people have requested the free samples.
Unfortunately, ALTOVIS has perpetrated a nation wide fraudulent scheme that involves automatic withdrawal of funds from the bank accounts of unsuspecting customers. Through very deceptive business practices, this company can completely drain bank accounts unless the consumer catches the fraud in time and cancels further withdrawals with the bank and demands that the company stop removing funds.
This is how it works. To obtain the free samples, Their company requires a credit or debit card number for a shipping charge. After completing and sending the order form, the unsuspecting consumer is automatically enrolled in a Managed Care Direct Program. 20 days after arrival of the free samples, the Managed Care Program prompts delivery of an unauthorized 28-day supply of ALTOVIS with a corresponding illegal deduction of $70 from the customer's bank account. The deliveries and deductions continue every 20 days unless the consumer puts an end to the circumvention.
This type of forced participation is definitely contrary to Federal Regulation E rules and NACHA and is easily identified as being illegal. This insidiousness can be quite costly if not stopped.
It is highly unusual for a company to originate a Managed Care Program for a nutrient, non-prescription product that has not even been tested or approved by the USDA. Normally, these types of programs are reserved for medical groups or prescription drug programs. I can only assume that the name, Managed Care has a distinguished ring to it and those in this company who schemed to profit could not rely solely on the products limited nutritional value.
Unless one plows through the 11 plus pages of endless editorials and testimonials, the short mention of their fraudulent Managed Care can be easily overlooked. In my case, I was only interested in the nutrient formulation and the order form for the FREE supply. I am convinced that a multitude of other people had the same limited interest in the other trivial information.
The company or manufacturer of ALTOVIS can be traced to several sites on the Internet, including Askenzyte, Berkley Pharmaceuticals, Wagner Nutraceuticals, or AltovisCin. My personal experience with this company involves not only fraud but also direct theft of funds from my checking account. After giving my bank account number for shipping expenses of $4.50, ALTOVIS shipped the product on 3/09/04. I received the free samples on 3/11/04. The shipping fee was the only charge I was aware of and the only charge that I agreed to.
To my surprise, I received another box of 30 tablets on 04/01/04 and my bank account was fraudulently debited $70. I did not authorize this shipment and I certainly did not authorize deductions from my bank account. I was sent the unsolicited product only 20 days after I received the free samples. I have not even finished the free samples simply because they made me nauseated and nervous and caused the onset of diaphoresis each time I consumed the tablet.
Every 20 days, a 30-day supply is delivered with a corresponding charge of $70 even if the customer does not find the product beneficial. The product did not diminish fatigue or give me additional energy. ALTOVIS does not represent a revolutionary break through formulation that will change the world. Commercials purporting these tablets as a modern day miracle are absolutely false. In fact, after I evaluated the active ingredients, this product is formulated with common herbs, and nutrients found in a variety of much less costly products found in health food stores. In addition, the energy these tablets are supposed to provide is the function of the mass amounts of natural caffeine that is loaded into these tablets. The product is really nothing special.
After I received the unsolicited, worthless product, I immediately sent the unopened box back to the company. I then went to my banking institution, Wachovia. I informed a bank representative of the situation, explaining that I did not authorize the debit and I requested a reversal of the charge. I then called ALTOVIS and talked to Lawrence, a company representative. I demanded that they stop the illegal deductions from my bank account and that I receive no more shipments. When I asked that my account be credited with the $70, he refused. I then talked to his supervisor, Jo Wanna. She agreed to stop further shipments and deductions (confirmation #20046045), but refused to refund my money. Jo Wanna indicated that another shipment was already on the way and I would be charged another $70 whether I returned them or not.
The alleged shipment never arrived and my account was not debited. Currently, I do not have anything to show for $70 that has been taken from my account. Am I to believe that law gives this company the power or right to just take money from me with nothing in return. Without any doubt this company has committed theft against me and most likely, countless others. I want my $70 returned to my account and I will not stop until action is taken against this company.
Normal business practice allows for the consumer to decide if a product is effective or beneficial. An option to continue to purchase the product should then follow. In this case, I should have had the chance to evaluate ALTOVIS and then given the option of having a continued monthly flow of the product with the automatic account deduction through their Managed Care program. Instead, the web site provides no instrument to opt out of their program and I was forced to participate without my consent or knowledge.
I am frustrated and dismayed that commercials for ALTOVIS continue to run. What other silly antics and machinations does this company have up its sleeves? New advertisements are introducing ALTOVIS as a brand new product that is just hitting the market. If one listens to the pronunciation of ALTOVIS by the announcer, it is obvious that the name of the product has changed even though it is the exact same product they have been peddling for a long time. Instead of an accent on the first syllable as has been the case; the accent is now on the second (before it was AL'tovis and it is now al TO'vis). This is an apparent attempt to convince the public that this is an entirely new product.
This company should have been stopped in its tracks by now. Meantime, the company is continuing to swindle many people and if anything, they are building up quite a financial war chest to apply to an inevitable legal battle. I have already lodged complaints with Federal and State agencies concerning the fraudulent practices of the company representing ALTOVIS. The US Postal Inspector's office indicated that they have received a multitude of complaints and have requested depositions from those that have been affected. My banking institution has also requested a deposition. I will continue to send this deposition to as many government agencies as possible. Hopefully, at least one consumer protection agency will step forward and help.
Cape Coral, Florida
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