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Better Business Bureau: Is there an app for acne?

Sept. 17, 2011 at 4:17 a.m.


By Alan BlighThose prone to breakouts are usually willing to try most anything they feel might help with their acne troubles. However, the Federal Trade Commission warns that the mobile app "AcneApp" is misleading the market and making "baseless" claims. This and other apps claim to treat acne with colored lights emitted from smartphones. Directions advise consumers "to hold the display screen next to the area of skin to be treated for a few minutes daily" One ad claims, "Kill ACNE with this simple, yet powerful tool!" Marketers of the app have now agreed to stop making these misleading claims. So make sure to do research on any app you're considering downloading. Know what the app does, the cost, if any, and what personal information will be accessed. It seems that medical quackery has made it the high tech world.

WATCH OUT FOR FAKES

In tens of millions of reviews on websites like Amazon.com, Citysearch, TripAdvisor and Yelp, you will find wonderful reviews of companies and products. You always should ask yourself, "Is That Review a Fake?" As online retailers increasingly depend on reviews as a sales tool, an industry of fibbers and promoters has sprung up to buy and sell raves for a pittance. A typical fibber site may say, "For $5, I will submit two great reviews for your business," For some time, we have worried about phony negative comments, those from competitors and ex-employees, but now it seems the main problem is phony complimentary reviews. There is nowadays the possibility that consumers will become distrustful of all reviews as a result. Best advice: beware of testimonials that appear to be a cookie cutting affair. That is: the testimonials are almost word for word the same as other testimonials.

CON ARTISTS

Daily your BBB hears stories about consumers doing business with a bad company or worse, a con artist. We hate to hear those stories because many times people can't get their money back. How do you know you are spending your money with the right company? After all, you hear horror stories about hiring someone to do a project and they either don't finish the job or the work has to be done over. Or you order something and you never receive the product. Our advice: Check with the BBB first. Does the BBB have a business review on the company? How long have they been in business? How many complaints do they have and how do they respond to them? Is the company BBB accredited? If something sounds too good to be true, call our office before writing that check, and certainly before you wire any money.

Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by e-mail at abligh@corpus christi.bbb.org.

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