The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about Noom, a popular app-based weight loss service.
According to BBB Serving Metropolitan New York, where Noom is based, customers have submitted well over a thousand complaints alleging that the company offers misleading free trials, and that subscriptions are difficult to cancel after free trials are complete.
“Many stay-at-home consumers are looking for options that can help them achieve their health and wellness goals during this pandemic time,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of BBB Serving Metropolitan New York. “Smartphone applications and online programs may seem convenient – especially when coupled with attractive free trial offers – but consumers must always be cautious when shopping for a weight loss service.”
Between August 16, 2019 and August 18, 2020, BBB received 1,213 consumer complaints regarding Noom, representing a significant uptick in complaint volume over previous years. Since July 2017, Noom has drawn a total of 2,023 complaints.
According to complaints made to BBB, consumers reportedly try to cancel the trial offer before it ends but still end up being billed for the subscription. A number of these consumers said they believed that after the free trial the cost of monthly membership was between $20 and $40. Instead, they discovered that they were charged for several months up front upon the free trial’s end, resulting in alleged charges varying from $120 to $180 or more.
Consumers consistently alleged difficulty trying to get in contact with Noom’s customer service to request a refund of charges. They then turned to BBB for assistance.
As of Friday, Noom’s BBB Business Profile displays a D rating due to the high volume of complaints filed against the business and the company’s failure to address the underlying cause of its recent pattern of complaints.
To avoid losing money on free trials and subscription services, especially in the health and wellness area, BBB recommends the following tips:
- Be wary of free trial offers, and before signing up, fully understand all the terms and conditions. Free trial offers are common in the health and beauty category. Some deals might become “subscription traps” that hook consumers into paying for expensive products or services that they did not intend or agree to buy. Be cautious and proceed carefully if the business terms say that it takes payment from your credit card until you cancel.
- Determine your fitness goals and check the details. It’s hard work to lose weight. Find a program you can stick with, preferably one that you enjoy, with goals that seem reasonable to you. Be sure…