Bogus health supplement company shut down in UK
The company purchased data lists containing details of UK-based individuals over the age of 65 with health concerns over arthritis, blood pressure and high cholesterol.
It used a call centre in Goa, India, to make unsolicited calls to the individuals on these data lists to sell them a range of health supplements.
The investigation found that the company’s customers, many of whom were suffering from severe medical conditions including dementia, were subjected to lengthy telesales calls in which the callers gave the impression that they were healthcare professionals who were promoting an official healthcare campaign.
After customers had agreed with the telesales caller to purchase supplements, typically at a price of £25 per box, they were transferred to a manager at the call centre who would inform them that it was necessary to take a ‘course’ of supplements, for which they were charged some £200 - £300.
Some customers were found to have paid several thousand pounds in separate transactions spread over one to two years.
Customers were falsely told that they would see a significant reduction in pain levels and improvements to their health and several complained that the company had made unauthorised deductions from their bank accounts by charging for more supplements than had been ordered.
The company was found to be operating in breach of consumer protection legislation by failing to disclose the commercial nature of the call at the outset of the telesales call and by failing to disclose the customer’s statutory cancellation rights.
Between April 2010 and Aril 2016 the company received an income from the sale of health supplements of £3.7m. ■