• Report: #789000

Complaint Review: Advanced Bionutritionals

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  • Submitted: Fri, October 14, 2011
  • Updated: Sat, October 15, 2011

  • Reported By: Paolo — Argao, Cebu Province Internet Philippines
Advanced Bionutritionals
5305 Oakbrook Parkway Norcross, Georgia United States of America

Advanced Bionutritionals Soundview Communication, Inc. Advanced Bionutritionals sold me a product without disclosing its contraindications and I got sick Norcross, Georgia

*Author of original report: Advanced Bionutritionals sold me a product without disclosing its contraindications and I got sick

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Advanced Bionutritionals are not disclosing contraindications and side effects of one of their product, Advanced Sleep Formula. I took this product and felt sick. I checked all ingredients in the Internet and I found out that one of them, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), has many typical side effects and contraindications.
(You can check at http://www.ehow.com/about_5444904_hydroxytryptophan-side-effects, http://www.advance-health.com/5htp.html, and many others, just google 5-HTP side effects and/or counter-indications)

The company is registered at the Better Business Bureau. I made a complaint asking for the side effects to be published in their product description but they refused. Better Business Bureau closed the complaint deciding that Advanced Bionutritional made an effort to solve the dispute (!?!) but the customer was not satisfied.

As also reported on Ripoffreport site, Better Business Bureau (in my opinion 'Bad Business Bureau) is accused by many people and companies of being corrupted as they give high ratings to company that pay them, as supported by ABC news. [continued below]....
..... etc.

Advanced Bionutritionals fully refunded me. (Though I asked them to pay also the return shipping costs, which they didn't)

Advanced Bionutritional have a history of false claims in their product description: in fact, in 2004 Advanced Bionutritionals stopped advertising one of their product that was reported to the Federal Trade Commission for unsubstantiated claims (File No. 042 3123).
The product description of their Advanced Sleep Formula is misleading indeed, as it is claimed to be a very safe product also compared to other natural supplements like Valerian and Melatonin.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 10/14/2011 11:12 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Advanced-Bionutritionals/Norcross-Georgia-30093-2250/Advanced-Bionutritionals-Soundview-Communication-Inc-Advanced-Bionutritionals-sold-me-a-789000. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
1Author 0Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

Advanced Bionutritionals sold me a product without disclosing its contraindications and I got sick

AUTHOR: Paolo - (Philippines)

Advanced Bionutritionals are not disclosing counter-indications and side effects of one of their product, Advanced Sleep Formula. I took this product and felt sick. I checked all ingredients in the Internet and I found out that one of them, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), has many typical side effects and contraindications.
(You can check at http://www.ehow.com/about_5444904_hydroxytryptophan-side-effects, http://www.advance-health.com/5htp.html, and many others, just google 5-HTP side effects and/or counter-indications)

The company is registered at the Better Business Bureau. I made a complaint asking Advanced Bionutritionals to warn customers of all side effects in their product description but they refused saying that 'the customer (should) consult with his or her physician,or pharmacy regarding any side effects', while they can, of course, advertise all real and imaginary benefits of their product (http://www.advancedbionutritionals.com/Products/Advanced-Sleep-Formula.htm). The Better Business Bureau closed the complaint deciding that Advanced Bionutritional made an effort to solve the dispute (!?!) but the customer was not satisfied.

As also reported on Ripoffreport site, Better Business Bureau (in my opinion the real Bad Business Bureau) is accused by many people and companies of being corrupted as they give high ratings to company that pay them, as supported by ABC news. etc.

Advanced Bionutritionals fully refunded me. (Though I asked them to pay also the return shipping costs, which they didn't)

Advanced Bionutritional have a history of false claims in their product description: in fact, in 2004 Advanced Bionutritionals stopped advertising one of their product that was reported to the Federal Trade Commission for unsubstantiated claims (File No. 042 3123).
The product description of their Advanced Sleep Formula is misleading, as it is claimed to be a very safe product also compared to other natural supplements like Valerian and Melatonin.



Below the full case at the Better Business Bureau:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
COMPLAINT ACTIVITY REPORT  Case # 27209774   Better Business Bureau, Inc.

Location Involved:   (Same as above)

Consumer's Original Complaint :
No warning given about possible counter-indications of one of their product to people with liver diseases.
On April 13 2011 I ordered Advanced Sleep Formula (ASF) 3 packs. According to Advanced Bionutritional (AB), when you take this product "... you'll wake up feeling refreshed, full of energy, ready to face the day." I took it according to the instructions on the bottle but when I woke up in the morning I felt dizzy, I had headache and felt sick the whole morning and fully recovered only after 2 or 3 days. I emailed AB (May 27 2011) asking for their comments and telling that I was considering returning the product. AB did not answer my email. I emailed them twice on May 30 2011, in my second email informing them that I had found in the Internet  that ingredients used in their ASF can be harmful to people with Hepatitis, namely 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP (http://www.ehow.com/about_5444904_hydroxytryptophan-side-effects, http://www.advance-health.com/5htp.html, etc.) and also Theanine. In fact, although I had previously told the company that I had Hepatitis C, I did not expect them to remember it but THEY SHOULD HAVE WARNED PEOPLE ABOUT THIS POSSIBLE PROBLEM. I expected AB to address my concerns but they ignored it. On May 31 2011 they wrote me back saying that they'd refund me if I'd send the product back. THIS BEHAVIOR JUST TELLS VOLUMES ABOUT THIS COMPANY. THEY JUST DO NOT CARE ABOUT THEIR CUSTOMERS' WELL BEING. They do not warn people about this problem not to reduce their sales.
 

Consumer's Desired Resolution:
Writing in the bottle and in the web product description of Advanced Sleep Formula of possible counter-indications to people with liver diseases. Also, to check that ALL their products do not have the same kind of problem.

BBB Processing

08/10/2011     web   BBB   Case Received by BBB
08/11/2011     rt   BBB   Case Reviewed by BBB - AB
08/11/2011     Otto   EMAIL   Send Acknowledgement to Consumer
08/11/2011     Otto   EMAIL   Notify Business of Dispute - AB
08/17/2011     WEB   BBB   RECEIVE BUSINESS RESPONSE : Advanced Bionutritionals received Paolo Enea's complaint.  Unfortunately, Advanced Bionutrionals is not able to give any medical advice to our customer taking our products. Advanced Bionutritionals ask that the customer consult with his or her physician,or pharmacy regarding any side effects they may experience while taking our products. However,if the customer is not satisfied for any reason,we ask that the customer discontinue taking the products and send back the unused portion for a full refund of every penny the customer paid, including shipping cost the customer had to pay to ship the original order to them. Advanced Bionutritionals is not responsible for the shipping cost the customer has to pay to get to send back the products to us for a refund.
    On 7/11/2011,Advanced Bionutritionals issued a full refund in the amount of $79.95 back to Paolo Emea's visa credit card. No additional refund is due to this customer. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and the customer.
08/18/2011     rt   EMAIL   Forward Business response to Consumer
08/23/2011     WEB   BBB   CONSUMER REBUTTAL TO BUSINESS RESPONSE : (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
    In their statement, Advanced Bionutritional (AB) do not deny that 5-HTP and Theanine should not be taken by people with liver disease. Instead, they are stating that it is their customers' problem to find out about the counter-indications of their products, while AB can make claims about the positive indications of their supplements in treating, preventing or curing health problems, as they do in their website.
    Moreover, in the case of Advanced Sleep Formula (ASF), they state that "...valerian...has the added concern of potential liver toxicity", clearly implying that ASF does not. The question is: did they know about 5-HTP and Theanine counter-indication for the liver? If they did, it means that they are in bad faith and deliberately misinformed and mislead their customers who, like me, stupidly trusted them; if they did not, it means that they are incompetent and should find another line of business. In fact, these counter-indications are in the public domain, we are not talking about unknown or unpredictable side effects.
    They are hiding behind their waiver and the standard statement used by USA supplement companys "This product is not intended to diagnose, cure,... etc.". However, people are not concerned about laws and regulations when a company willingly or mistakenly mislead their customers. In the age of the Internet, many people will know about this occurrence and will judge AB accordingly. Moreover, by refusing to amend their product description and warn customers about its counter-indications, they prove that they are in bad faith. In fact, they did not inquiry nor comment about what had happened to me. They were just not interested.  If they really did not know or if they were concerned about their customers, they would have asked for more information in order to clarify the causes of the problem.
    The web page 'http://www.advance-health.com/5htp.html' offers an example of a good company that offer a balanced (not one-sided, as AB) description of their products. As I mentioned in my first letter, please also see http://www.ehow.com/about_5444904_hydroxytryptophan-side-effects.html. You can find in Google MANY web sites reporting 5-HTP counterindications.
    As to the return shipping costs, their Guarantee statement reads that "We'll refund every penny you paid, including shipping and handling" and at the bottom of their product descriptions "simply return the unused portion for a full refund of every penny you paid - including shipping!". No mention whatsoever that returning shipping is to be paid by the customer. This appear to be a case of the so called "Parole Evidence Rule", which prevents a party to a written contract from presenting oral evidence that contradicts or adds to the written terms of the contract.
08/23/2011     rt   EMAIL   Forward Consumer Rebuttal to Business
08/25/2011     WEB   BBB   RECEIVED BUSINESS' ADDITIONAL RESPONSE : Advanced Bionutritionals regrets that Paolo Enea was not satisfied with our Advanced Sleep Formula. However, if the customer is taking any prescription drugs or have any health conditions, we ask that the customer consult with his or her physician or a pharmacist before taking our products.
    Advanced Bionutritionals stands behind their products 100% and honored our agreement by refunding the customer every penny he paid on 7/11/2011. Advanced Bionutritinal is not responsible for reimbursing the customer shipping cost he or she has to pay to send the product back to us for a refund.
    Thank You,
    Advanced Bionutritionals
08/25/2011     rt   EMAIL   Send Business' Rebuttal Response to Consumer
08/29/2011     WEB   BBB   CONSUMER SUBSEQUENT RESPONSE : (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
    It is plain to see that in their "rebuttal" Advanced Bionutritional has not denied my points, which are:
    1. Advanced Sleep Formula contains ingredients publicly known to potentially have adverse effects for people with liver diseases and AB did not and do not warn their customers in their product description;
    2. In the product description of Advanced Sleep Formula, Advanced Bionutritional implies that their product is safe for the liver by comparing it with Valerian which, in their own words, 'has the added concern of potential liver toxicity'. This gives the wrong impression that their product is safe for the liver.
    This amounts to an admission on their part that they omitted to inform customers about counter-indications and that their statement about Advanced Sleep Formula being safe for the liver is wrong.
    In substance, they say that, on the one hand, they have the right to brag about the effectiveness of their products but, on the other hand, they have no duty of disclosing counter-indications and they can even publish wrong statements because, in the end, their customers' physicians are responsible if anything goes wrong.
    Can I also say that, according to the English language, a "rebuttal" is "the speech act of refuting by offering a contrary contention or argument". AB did not offer any counterargument to my statement and should not drag this case on by just repeating their template statement. Either they offer a counterargument or they should shut up.
    I can only accept from Advanced Bionutritional that they amend their product description by informing people about the counter-indications of their product and delete the statement about Valerian.
    I think this case should be published in your website so that customers that they can make up their mind about this company.
    As to the shipping cost to return the product, again, they should inform people about that beforehand. However, I am not interested in this issue anymore and they can keep the money.
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