July 7th, 2016
This radio ad offers a “free trial” for a supplement called SomaBiotix, which is said to flatten bloated bellies fast. But not so fast. Because TINA.org called the automated 1-800 number and found that the “free” trial actually costs at least $4.98 for shipping and handling fees that are not revealed in the radio ad, and that how much of the product you are actually getting remains a mystery before the company requests credit card information needed to reserve the order.
And consumers should know that once they give their credit card information, their ability to dispute charges is restricted. The company states in its website’s terms and conditions that it has the “sole discretion” to determine if a customer’s request for a refund is valid. This despite the advertising of a “100% Money Back Guarantee” on the SomaBiotix homepage.
Meanwhile, some consumers have complained about being charged $75 for additional products every month after signing up for the supposed free trial. Both the radio ad and website’s terms and conditions fail to mention anything about recurring charges.
The company is also making some bold treatment claims. For example, its homepage touts a customer testimonial claiming that waste-cleansing SomaBiotix treats acid reflux:
I had acid reflux so bad I almost needed surgery to fix it. I would cough for 3-4 hours straight and started to even coughing up blood. Every other product I tried didn’t work. SomaBiotix was the one product that helped and dramatically reduced my symptoms to the point where they are almost gone.
The radio ad also states that “scientifically formulated” SomaBiotix can combat acid reflux. But such disease-treatment claims are illegal because SomaBiotix is a supplement and not a drug that has been evaluated and approved by the FDA to treat and/or cure specific medical conditions like acid reflux.
A familiar slogan
If the slogan “flatten bloated bellies fast” sounds familiar that’s because it’s the same one currently being used to sell a supplement called NuBiotix, whose not-so-free trial and health claims TINA.org highlighted in an ad alert last August. But the similarities do not end there. Not only are the supplements’ websites mirror images of each other with the only discernible difference being the name of the product advertised, but the “Supplement Facts” labels on the SomaBiotix and NuBiotix websites contain the exact same ingredients down to the milligram. The same Sandy, Utah address also appears on each website.
SomaBiotix also sells a supplement called Prilogen (and wouldn’t you know NuBiotix does too) that the company says “improves cognitive reactions and interactions which can increase mental fitness, energy and alertness.” In addition, the Prilogen bottle (which also carries the “NuBiotix” name) claims the pill can “boost memory function.” Yet the SomaBiotix website concedes that “no clinical studies have been performed on Prilogen.” The FTC requires appropriate scientific evidence to back up marketing claims. Brain supplements have come under increased scrutiny for such claims of late, including from TINA.org, which last September filed an FTC complaint against Prevagen.
This ad alert was updated 12/8/16.