But WAIT… There’s MORE (aka Part Three)
In this series of articles (Part 1, Part 2) we’ve been looking at some of the main players in the multibillion-dollar “As Seen On TV” Industry. Let’s find out a little bit more about who they are and what they sell…
Who they are:
This San Diego direct marketing company was started by CEO Bob Greenstone in 1979 and claims to be able to determine what products will work in advance with its Predict-A-Hit technology. Fun Fact: Bob was a rock n roller as a teenager in the 1960s and had a deal with Roulette Records.
Rabbit TV Gold: This USB device is said to plug into any computer and give you free access to thousands of movies and TV shows on the web with an interface similar to Netflix. However, consumers have noted that all this entertainment is already available online for free with the device. Rabbit TV customer service: 1-800-777-4034
Hurricane Twin Spin Mop: This spinning mop-and-bucket combination gets decent marks from our reviewers. While some say it’s lightweight and does the same job as a bigger mop; others complain that it is smaller than they thought and that the mop handle’s design is flawed. Hurricane Spin Mop customer service: 1-800-777-4034
Permission Interactive claims to only market products via infomercial or website, not represent or guarantee them. On their website, they list the individual customer service phone numbers for you to call.
Who they are:
Bill Guthy and Greg Renker formed their company in 1988, focusing on beauty, skincare, entertainment, and wellness products. They are said to have distribution in 68 countries and have worked with celebrities such as Tony Robbins and Cindy Crawford.
Crepe Erase: Touted by actress Jane Seymour, this beauty product claims to get rid of crepey skin around your neck and arms. However, it averages just 2 stars on our site with consumers complaining it is greasy, heavy and doesn’t do anything. The biggest complaints are about confusing pricing and the auto-ship program that is difficult to cancel.
“Read the entire website clearly to inform yourself. If you order the large kit, you will be billed three payments of 59.95 and then 30 days after another shipment and billed. This happens every three months. I did not catch all of that as it was not what was in bold print and I overlooked it. The lady on the phone was rude when I canceled…” reads a typical complaint.
In spite of having an accreditation and A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, their BBB page lists 385 complaints in the last 3 years, with most of them being billing/collection issues and problems with products. The BBB notes that this number is small relative to their size and that all the complaints were resolved as part of their reasoning behind this stellar rating.
In 2012, Guthy-Renker were chastised by the British Advertising Standards Authority for misleading consumers in an ad featuring US celebrities. They ruled these celebrities had not received the same formula as the one sold in the UK.
Who they are:
Another Khubani is behind Spark Innovators – Raj Khubani – who has been CEO since its inception in 2006. Previously, he headed Raingear, Inc. founded in 1992. (For more on the Khubani family, see Part One of this series and read the History of Telebrands.)
Engrave-it-Pro: This handheld battery-powered electric engraving tool generally gets good marks from our readers who say they were pleasantly surprised that it worked quite well. However, Cassy from Tampa, Florida says to her it was a “huge disappointment”:
“When I tried to replace the tip it said to gently pull from the top but I swear they super glued the first head on so tight it's impossible to remove. I tried to gently remove it then I tried to remove it with a little bit of force and the whole assembly detached. This is a cheap piece of crud…”
We also note that if you decide to take the upsell and purchase the Deluxe Model, you’ll be paying $44.98 instead of the original advertised $10.
Who they are:
Plymouth Direct was founded by Steve Silbiger in 1997, who claims to have sold 500,000 copies of his book Ten Day MBA. According to the jacket, the book covers all the material covered in the most popular business schools in just 10 days, including “leadership, corporate ethics and compliance, financial planning, real estate, and all the latest topics.”
BeActive Brace: A pressure pad worn below the knee that made claims it would get rid of sciatica nerve pain gets a 2.5 average from our consumer reviewers. While there are some 4 or 5-star reviewers that claim it worked for them to ease pain, the majority of the 128 reviews we’ve received so far were less kind.
“First and foremost let me state my credibility. I'm a DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy)… If used incorrectly, this device can cause blood clots or a number of other soft tissue issues… There is no, I repeat no, physiological reason pressure in this area will cure sciatica,” cautioned Courtney C. from Austin, TX. (We could find no medical evidence this pressure point works, either.)
The Electronic Electronic Retailing Self-Regulating Program (ERSP), a investigative body of the Council of Better Business Bureaus referred BeActive Brace to the FTC and FDA for false advertising claims regarding treatment of sciatica and other pains. Plymouth Direct claimed to do no wrong, but have since slightly modified their advertising.
So there you have it, most of the biggest names in “As Seen On TV”. Let us know if you have any experience with their products, or if we missed one of your favorites below!