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Trying to lose weight? Don’t use this app, Better Business Bureau warns

When is the last time you downloaded an app and were immediately asked to subscribe to a paid version to access its features? As a smartphone user, you’ve likely encountered this scenario at times — and it happens even when the app claims to be free in the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

Apps make their money one of two ways: ad revenue or subscription revenue. The subscription-based apps commonly offer customers a free trial period for the service — some users cancel after that point, others decide the app is worth the subscription cost, and more than a handful forget to cancel. Tap or click here for 23 dangerous apps you should delete now.

But what happens when an app charges you for services you didn’t use — and subscriptions or charges you didn’t authorize? That’s what thousands of customers claim is happening with a popular diet app right now, and the Better Business Bureau has issued a warning against using it.

What’s causing Noom complaints?

Nearly 1,200 complaints have been made about Noom’s subscription service to the Better Business Bureau over the last 12 months, which prompted the agency to issue a warning about the app. According to the BBB, these complaints have primarily centered around the company’s free trial and subscription offers, which customers say were misleading and hard to cancel.

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According to the BBB, customers who complained about Noom often say they’ve signed up for the two-week free trial and then attempt to cancel before the trial period ends, but ultimately end up being billed for the subscription. These customers also told the BBB it’s nearly impossible to get in touch with the company for a refund.

Another issue is customers are reporting they believed the cost of membership after the free trial was between $20 and $40, but rather than being billed monthly, they are being billed for several months at once, in amounts from $120 to $180 or more. Here’s part of the BBB warning:

BBB files indicate a Pattern of Complaints concerning free trial conversion billing and customer service practices of Noom, Inc. Consumers are telling BBB about their experiences after signing up for a free trial offer with the company. Many 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 say they believed that after the free trial the cost of monthly membership was between $20-$40.

‘They also claim that after the free trial ends they are charged upfront for several months subscription (varying amounts from $120 to $180+) instead of being billed monthly. Nearly all consumers detail the difficulty they encounter when trying to get in contact with the company’s customer service to request a refund of charges and must come to BBB for assistance.”

For example, one recent complaint published on the BBB website states, “Subscribed to free trial, attempted over and over to unsubscribe. Sent them email. Deleted the app. Continue to be charge $121 for service. Reinstalled app, tried to unsubscribe again and get automated messages. This is a pattern and I will now cancel credit card to stop the charges. I don’t know what else to do.”

Other recent complaints echo similar issues.

“The signing up process is very misleading. I thought I signed for a subscription that was around $25/month as stated on their site. However, I was billed $161. I tried to cancel the subscription to get a refund within an hour and have not been successful at getting in touch with a customer service rep. The website never stated that your account would be charged x amount of dollars. The email confirmation does not state what has been charged to your account,” another complaint states.

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How to get your money back

These thousands of customers that are claiming to be overcharged by Noom are now working to get their money refunded — but it can be difficult to do with the lack of customer service contact info for the company.

The BBB has played a big part in helping unhappy customers get refunded by Noom. Complaints filed to the BBB are being regularly addressed by Noom, with many customers noting that they’re satisfied with the outcome of the complaints. Per the responses from Noom on the BBB site, most of the customers who’ve been overcharged have received refunds after filing complaints with the BBB.

You can also file a chargeback with your credit card company if you believe you were incorrectly or fraudulently charged for a Noom subscription. The process for this varies by the card issuer, so the easiest way to navigate the process is to contact your card issuer directly to inquire.

You also have the option to try and contact Noom, though as many customers have noted to the BBB, that can be difficult to do. You can find the links to send a message to customer support at Noom by tapping or clicking here.

How to avoid these issues in the future

It can be tough to avoid issues like these since they appear to be originating on the side of the company, but there are a few tips you can follow. These include:

  1. Read the Terms of Service and conditions completely before signing up. This can help you avoid surprise lump-sum billing practices or iron-clad, company-friendly contracts that are difficult to get out of.
  2. Avoid promises that seem too good to be true. As always, if the promise of massive weight loss or quick results is made upfront and appears too good to be true, they probably are. Find a program with a sensible, easy to follow program that offers attainable weight loss goals.
  3. Check the BBB. The BBB is a good source of information from customers, so it’s always wise to check the BBB to see what the rating is before you sign up. The customer reviews for Noom on the BBB site are a clear warning to stay away.
  4. Report your concerns quickly. This will not only help you resolve the issues either with the company itself or an organization like the BBB but will also potentially help steer other customers away from the same issues.

You never want to get trapped into subscription fees when you had no intention of signing up. Noom might actually be a good way to lose weight but shady billing practices like what’s being reported is a major red flag to stay away. The company would be in a better position if it fixes these issues.

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