The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about the diet app Noom after receiving more than 1,200 complaints in the past 12 months from irate customers who alleged they had received unexpected charges.
Noom is supposed to help users lose weight by providing them with tools to track their weight, log what they eat, and connect with others for support, but many people have claimed that the company’s free trials are misleading and difficult to cancel.
According to the BBB’s website, ‘many consumers reportedly try to cancel the trial offer before it ends but still end up being billed for the subscription.’
A number of people reported that they were led to believe the cost of a monthly membership was between $20 and $40 after the trial period — but were later ‘charged for several months upfront upon the trial’s end.’
The charges were for varying amounts, ranging from $120 to $180 or more.
A majority of the consumers who turned to the BBB for assistance detailed the difficulty they encountered when trying to reach the company’s customer service to request a refund of charges.
‘Consumers are consistently telling us that they have difficulty contacting Noom’s customer service in order to get a refund,’ Claire Rosenzweig, president of Better Business Bureau in New York, told Good Morning America.
Lisa Wolfe, a public relations executive from Chicago, explained to GMA that she tried to cancel Noom multiple times and was charged almost $400 in subscription fees over six months.
After struggling to reach Noom’s customer service team, she tweeted a complaint to the company in June.
‘I am beginning to think this is a scam,’ she wrote. ‘I signed up for the free trial earlier this year and cannot cancel. I have been charged twice, but when I try to logon with both of my email addresses and FB it says there is no account for those names!’
Wolfe received a response from Noom’s Twitter account 10 days later, which said: ‘We’re so sorry to hear you’ve had a frustrating experience with our app! We would love to make things right. Please send us a DM with your email and we’ll take care of this for you!’
Wolfe told GMA that was when she finally got a refund for the charges, and she wasn’t the only one who has turned to social media for help.
Others have also tweeted to Noom in recent months to complain about charges and subscriptions they didn’t want. Some claimed they had signed up for a free trial amid the coronavirus pandemic and then were hit with bills they couldn’t afford.
‘You people took advantage of a family member who was just trying to lose weight. We are in a pandemic and you charged her for seven months of services she doesn’t want,’ one person tweeted.
‘She tried to cancel prior to her “free” trial but had no contact number to do that. Are you truly a scam?’
‘Thought I had canceled but was hit with the automatic renewal after the trial,’ someone else wrote. ‘Really do not have the spare money right now for an app I’m literally not going to use. Feels very predatory.’
The BBB has given Noom a ‘D’ rating after received 2,030 complaints about the company in the last three years, saying the ‘business has failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints.’
Noom CEO and co-founder Saeju Jeong responded to the claims in a written statement shared with GMA.
‘While the complaints on BBB represent less than 0.03% of the millions of customers who have signed up with Noom in the last three years, we take each one very seriously,’ she said.
‘Our top priority is to always ensure our customers have the best possible experience with Noom. This holds true no matter where they are in the program —including if Noom is not the right fit for them at any point along their journey.’
‘Like many industry-leading fitness and wellness companies, we sell multi-month membership packages, and we state clearly and in advance the full charges that customers can expect to be billed for that membership if they decide that Noom is right for them,” Jeong added.
‘We are very accommodating with refund requests, even with those who cancel and request a refund shortly after the trial period has passed. Customers can cancel at any time, no questions asked, either by messaging their coach in the app or emailing our support team.’