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4.3.2002, Aribert Deckers
Spate of Complaints Prompts Latest in Ongoing Series of Consumer Alerts
(SACRAMENTO) - California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Department of Consumer Affairs Director Kathleen Hamilton today warned consumers to be wary of outrageous claims being made by fly-by-night companies regarding magnetic mattresses and sleeping pads. The companies, which claim the products cure a wide range of disabling conditions, often lure consumers into buying them with money-back guarantees, but then disappear when a dissatisfied customer tries to obtain a refund.
"My office has seen a surge in complaints about these companies, especially from seniors and those with arthritis and circulatory problems who are particularly vulnerable to promises of relief," Lockyer said. "Not only should consumers thoroughly check out the history of any company they are considering doing business with, they should also obtain advice from their doctor or health care plan before making a costly medical decision."
"Magnetic mattress pads are marketed as having health benefits, but for many consumers who've contacted us, the products are a pain in the pocketbook," Hamilton said. "We're urging consumers to use caution, ask questions, examine marketing claims and check out the track record of these companies."
The warning, the latest in a series of consumer alerts by the Attorney General's Office, was prompted by numerous complaints from consumers throughout the country who have paid $800 or more for magnetic mattress pads. The companies market the products at "dinner seminars" and promise money-back guarantees, then shut their doors when complaints from unhappy customers begin pouring in. Often, they resurface under another name with a similar scheme to defraud more victims.
"A life-time warranty or money-back guarantee is worthless if the company is no longer in business," Lockyer said.
Consumers who believe they are the victims of fraud are urged to file a report with their local district attorney, the Attorney General's Public Inquiry Unit at (800) 952-5225, or the Department of Consumer Affairs at (800) 952-5210.
Electronic complaint forms and other information also are available on the Attorney General's web page at http://www.ag.ca.gov/consumers and the Department of Consumer Affair's site at http://www.dca.ca.gov
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