Featured post

Those funny blood-sucking scammers

Since almost becoming a victim of one, I’ve gotten very interested in web scammers.  These are people who put up websites whose secondary purpose is plugging dubious products, and whose main purpose is fraud and theft.

I started posting about web scams in my regular blog; the topic became so engrossing (to me, anyway) that it was a distraction from what I usually write about.  So I’m shifting web scamming to its own blog, and this is it!

Why?

Entertainment: The earnest fantasies that web scammers spin are hilarious.  And their devious machinations show lots of talent and effort, making me wonder why they don’t just get jobs.  Laughing at them throws sunlight on them, drying up their slimy schemes.

Someone has to do it: The Better Business Bureau is mired in the 20th century.  Credit card issuers eat reversed charges, having learned the futility of pursuing nomadic and offshore operations.  The feds have bigger fish to fry.  And Amazon has lulled consumers into supposing that all web stores are honest, reliable businesses.  A few bloggers are doing what they can to warn people.  And that may be the most we can realistically accomplish.

I hope you’ll enjoy and benefit from this blog.  Please reply with your experiences, corrections and ideas.

Call to action

  • If you have a blog or a web page, it would be a public service if you would include links to posts I’ve made.  Together we can “google-bomb” the scammers by positioning honest information higher in Google search results than their fake reviews.
  • Send me a link to your blog about scamming, and I’ll include it here.
  • If you bought something from a scammer and you don’t want it, give that purchase some purpose.  Send it to me!  I’ll review it (but I’m not promising to test stuff that’s too sketchy or scary) and write about it to warn others.

8/31/16 Update:  When I set up this blog, I copied over my posts about the LUX HD450 phone lens scam and removed the links to the scam site.  And I wrote additional posts without scam site links.  Since then I’ve noticed that the same posts with scam site links get 40 times the readership as posts without links.  I’m guessing that this reflects something Google is doing to prioritize search results.  To reach and warn more people, I’m going to add links to scam sites.  I’ll color them red; click at your peril!

Advertisements

Shucked by sham charity HeroRelief.org (2017)

I wrote about this outfit a year ago.  I’m saddened to see that they’re still at it–pretending to be a charity when their only beneficiary is themselves.

There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.  Contact information:

Web site: Hero Relief
Address: 1234 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Corporate address: 7582 Las Vegas Blvd. S #115-405, Las Vegas, NV 89123
Return address: 7875 Highlands Village Place, Suite B102 #401, San Diego, CA 92129
Phone: 1-866-342-2144. Customer Service; 1.844.467.8545
Email: support@herorelief.org

Ridiculous claims: -1.  “Our vision is of a world in which all people displaced by disaster and humanitarion crises are rapidly provided with emergency aid, helping to rebuild their communities and lives. Here at American Heroes, we value innovation. We are creative in finding effective solutions and are always improving the quality of our work to make sure we deliver the best service possible. We stand by our promise to leave the world a better place than we found it.”  Notice that they don’t even claim to deliver any relief themselves.  Also that they call themselves “American Heroes;” is a name-change underway?

Suspicious location: -1.  Corporate address “7582 Las Vegas Blvd. S #115-405, Las Vegas, NV 89123” tells us that Hero Relief keeps odd company for a charity.  The address is also used by notorious scammer Shadowhawk Flashlights, as well as:

  • Defender X Tactical Pens
  • Blackhawk Flashlights
  • Electra Straightening Brush
  • Falcon Tactical Flashlights
  • Crazy Cat Giveaway
  • Electra Media
  • Bella Labs

Also, I see that it’s the favorite hangout of web scammers the world over; a UPS store.

Onerous terms: 0.  Terms of Service are relatively harmless.  However,

  • A refund takes up to 30 days.  If you signed up for monthly donations (accidentally or otherwise), they also bill you every 30 days; and you can only get one refund.  These terms seem to work together to make getting a full refund unlikely.
  • You can’t sue them, join a class action that’s suing them, or join a group arbitratrion.

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1

  • They’ll spam you.
  • They’ll share your information with other companies that will do the same.
  • If they sell their company, your personal data is part of the deal.

Lying and deception: -1

  • Charity Navigator can’t locate an organization named Hero Relief or HeroRelief.org; nor can Giving Compass.
  • Green Shield, the charity which supposedly benefits from your donation to HeroRelief.org, doesn’t come up on these charity-review websites either. It turns out that there is a Green Shield HMO in Canada; but that’s not a charity.
  • This photo’s caption implies that it shows a Hero Relief worker providing health services to children.  But nope — the photo is lifted from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.
  • This photo is from Alamy Stock Photos.  Notice the text box; ‘When disaster strikes, Hero Relief is there.”  I take this to mean that the two men in green safety jackets are Hero Relief workers; they’re not.  

Obfuscation: -1.  At the foot of the page I see “Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit.”  This pseudo-latin phrase means nothing.  It’s just an ornamental bunch of letters.

Phony reviews: +1.  None found.

Crummy product: -1.  As far as I can tell, there is no product.

Overpriced: 0

Bad service: 0.  I’ve found no reports of this.

Total score; -5

Unauthorized charges: I’ve found no reports of this.  Hero Relief doesn’t accept PayPal.

Conclusion: Don’t pour your hard-earned money down this rat-hole.  Find a real charity.  Charity Navigator’s 10 Best Charities list is a good place to start.

 

Toyed by GreatPrice.Sale phone zoom lens

 

I called the very next morning to cancel order before the 24 hr cancellation deadline. They could not ” fi&d my records” said the system hasn’t updated. So I called the day after to check on my cancellation they claimed I didn’t call. They say my order has been processed.

get money backThe above is from ReportScam.com.  There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.  Contact information:

Web site: GreatPrice.Sale
Address: HDE Trading Ltd., New Bridge Street House, 30-34 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6BJ, England
email: support@greatprice.sale

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • Shown to outperform DSLRs!”  There are important differences between a phone and a real camera besides the lens, as I explain here.
  • Does the lightweight, portable, durable Zoom Lens kit actually work to produce powerful, professional pictures from your phone? Here’s our review.”  Keep in mind that you’re reading advertising, not a review.
  • According to People Magazine, Celebrities, Bloggers, and Professional Photographers already made a switch to the most powerful high resolution lens.”  It’s safe to say that People Magazine said no such thing.
  • Christie from Dallas went to Africa last summer, and she had an epic trip.”  So, Christie sprang for a safari and didn’t bring a real camera?

Suspicious location: +1.  At 30-34 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6BJ, England I see an unsuspicious office building.  Other businesses using this address seem legit.  Oddly, the Terms of Service say the governing law is that of California, USA.hq

Onerous terms: -1

  • You have 30 days to return the lens for a refund.  The return policy doesn’t say whether that’s 30 days from your order date or from the date you receive the lens.  Delivery takes up to 5 weeks (35 days); so this omission matters.
  • They don’t guarantee that the quality of the lens will meet your expectations; nor that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  You can opt in to receive emailed advertising, and opt out.

Lying and deception: -1

  • Scientific-looking unattributed comparison chart vs. Nikon, etc.
  • GreatPrice.Sale claims that this is an 18x zoom lens.  Amazon offers a look-alike lens listed as 12x.
  • James Thompson’s “prize-winning photo” is from Shutterstock.

Obfuscation: -1.  A 20-minute discount expiration countdown timer starts when you click the Order button.  If you click it, another 5-minute timer hurries you through checkout.  No time to think!  Grab your credit card and pound those numbers in right now.

Phony reviews: -1.  On-site testimonials with no last names.

Crummy product: -1.  Jim Doty did a meticulous comparison of this lens to a Canon 7D II. He writes in his blog, “The ads and articles by the people selling these smart phone telephoto lenses are just plain wrong. Lenses designed by the major manufacturers for DSLR and ILC cameras are far superior. These cheap, Chinese made, telephoto lenses for smart phones are disappointing.

Overpriced: +1.  GreatPrice.Sale is asking $20, claiming a 50% discount.  Amazon has several offerings that sure look like the same lens.  One of them sells for $12 (but it doesn’t include a tripod).

Bad service: -1.  From ReportScam.com: “Every single time i call up to this very day no on has my info. They even took the money off my card. No on understand me when I call like they are lost or something. I WANT MY MONEY BACK.

Total score; -4

Unauthorized charges:  Hard to find out much about this London outfit, but I found enough to turn on the CREDIT CARD RISK ALERT red light.

  • From ReportScam.com: “Bought 2 flash lights more than a month ago, nothing arrived. Asked for cancellation, no action taken. Just received my credit card statement showing that they made an additional unauthorised transaction to my credit card.
  • GreatPrice.Sale accepts PayPal.

Conclusion: Be content with your phone’s built-in zoom, and put your $20 in your real-camera piggy bank.

2k slrBloopers:

CARRYING AN ULTRA-COMPACT, LIGHTWEIGHT TELEPHOTO LENS WILL GIVE YOU THE POWER OF A $4000 DSLR IN YOUR POCKET.”  Do I get the power of a $2,000 DSLR or a $4,000 DSLR in my pocket?  I’m confused.

landscapeBut that’s not a landscape; that’s a horse.  What is a landscape-sized photo anyway?  Also, you’re holding the phone wrong for photography.laugh

Fried by Gadgets Catalog hair straightener + hair curling iron

If your hair is curly, this gadget can straighten it.  Or, if it’s straight already, it can curl it.  Good deal?

There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.  Contact information:

Web site: Gadgets Catalog
11081 Madrigal St., San Diego CA 92129
email: support@gadgets-catalog.com

Ridiculous claims: -1.  Gadgets Catalog claims to be offering a $60 discount.  See “Overpriced” below.

Suspicious location: +1.  11081 Madrigal St., San Diego CA 92129 is an unsuspicious house.  hq

Onerous terms: -1

  • You have 30 days from the date of your order — not from the date you received it — to return the iron.
  • You can’t return “some” health and personal care items.
  • Sale items can’t be refunded.  The iron is marked down $60, so apparently you can’t return it.
  • They don’t guarantee that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  You can opt in to receive emailed advertising, and opt out.

Lying and deception: +1.  None found.

Obfuscation: -1.  You don’t get to see the terms or privacy policy until you start check out.

Phony reviews: +1.  None found.

Crummy product: 0.  Four people rated the iron 5 stars on AliExpress.

Overpriced: -1.  Gadgets Catalog is asking $70, claiming a $60 discount.  Amazon offers similar irons for as little as $20. AliExpress sells identical irons for $22.

Bad service: +1.  Gadgets Catalog responded promptly to a test “customer question” email.

Total score; 1

Unauthorized charges: I found no reports of this.  Gadgets Catalog doesn’t accept PayPal.

Conclusion: Amazon.

Bloopers: Gadgets Catalog advertises 50% off on Facebook.  They make the same claim at the top of their web page.  But $60 / $130 = 46%.fb

Mooned by HDeals x334 Selenic Moon

This moon looks so pretty.  What could possibly be wrong with it?

There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.  Contact information:

Web site: HDeals.US
Office address: Rue 9 N98 Hay Elmanar Youssoufia Safi, Morocco
Return address: Wang KaiKai, Qipei a4-1-201, dong yangshi jinhuashi 322100, China
Email: sales@hdeals.us

Ridiculous claims: +1.  None found.

Suspicious location: 0.  Google Maps couldn’t resolve either address.  Normally I’d ding them a point for this; but I think the problem is that the address’ formats are unusual.

Onerous terms: -1

  • The guarantee period is 30 days from the date of your order – not the date you receive your lamp.  Shipping is estimated to take up to four weeks (28 days).  You may have only two days to get it back to them — in China.
  • To be acceptable, your returned lamp must be unused.  So much for “Satisfaction guaranteed.”
  • Only regularly-priced items can be refunded.  But the lamp is on sale, $16 off.
  • You pay the return shipping — to China.
  • They don’t guarantee that the quality of the lamp will meet your expectations; nor that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  You can opt in to receive emailed advertising, and opt-out.

90 daysLying and deception: -1.  HDeals.US advertises a 90-day guarantee.  But their returns policy specifies a 30-day guarantee.

Obfuscation: -1.  Lots of pressure to buy now.pressure

Phony reviews: +1.  None found.  (I’m ignoring the on-site testimonials, since there’s no way to check them.). I see an on-site form for adding a review.

Crummy product: +1.  Amazon’s remarkably similar offering is rated 4.5 stars by 118 customers.  It’s not unanimous; I noticed some grumbling about poor-quality 3D printing and harsh lighting.  And of course I can’t be sure that the Amazon product is the same as that from HDeals.US.

Overpriced: -1.  HDeals.US is asking $39 for their 4-inch model.  Amazon has a 3.9-inch model listed at $18.

Bad service: +1.  There are so many Hot Deals companies, and so many complaints about them, that I had trouble finding relevant complaints.  Anyway my test “customer question” email was promptly answered.

Total score; 1

Unauthorized charges: HDeals.US doesn’t accept PayPal.  This presents a particular risk when dealing with an overseas business.

Conclusion: I found some of the Amazon reviews discouraging.  I would just walk away from this product from any seller, unless it’s retail so I can see it.

Left in the dark by ClearSight night driving glasses

Not only was I ripped off, they sent me a fradulant tracking number, and My Bank called me this morning  to ask me if I was moving to LosAngles, California.

get money backOctober 28, 2017: One of many complaints about ClearSight on file at RipoffReports.  There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.  Contact information:

Web site: ClearSight
10024 N Taryne St., Hayden, ID 83835
Phone: (415) 727-8750
email: contact@clearsightglassesco.com (I found a complaint that this address doesn’t work)

Ridiculous claims: -1.  Comfortable 1-size-fits-all design.”  Anybody who wears prescription glasses knows this can’t be true.

Suspicious location: -1.  “10024 N Taryne St., Hayden, ID 83835” is an office/warehouse building; in this four-year-old picture it was for sale.  That’s not suspicious.  But this partial list of other businesses using this address, some dubious, is.

  • hqDollar Fulfillment
  • Positive Vibez
  • Vanika Jewelry
  • Locket Kingdom
  • How 2 Publishing
  • Macek Consulting
  • Invisible Body Shaper
  • Shurkleen Carpet Cleaning
  • Klein’s Home Improvement
  • SafeSound Personal Alarm

Onerous terms: 0.  I see little to object to in the easy-to-read terms.  I’ll note that they don’t guarantee that their glasses are fit for any use, nor that anything they say is true.

Ads, spam, robocalls: +1.  You can opt in to receive emailed advertising, and opt out.

Lying and deception: +1.  None found.

Obfuscation: -1.  Constant popups about other people who have supposedly ordered glasses.  Also; “Stock is extremely limited: Sell Out Risk: HIGH.

got himPhony reviews: -1.  On-site testimonials are fake.  I checked the picture of one of them and it’s all over the internet.

bevelCrummy product: 0.  All ClearSight definitely says about the glasses is that they are tinted yellow and are “anti-reflectory.”  It isn’t clear whether this means they have an anti-reflective coating.  ClearSight doesn’t say they are polarized.  One of the pictures on the ClearSight web site shows a lens with a bevelled edge.  That looks like a wrap-around bifocal; I doubt it would be helpful.

Overpriced: +1. ClearSight is asking $20 for a pair.  It seems pretty easy to “win” a second nearly-free pair for which you pay the shipping charge.  So, say, $10 a pair.  Amazon has several yellow-tinted drivers’ glasses offerings, including this pair for $8 that is polarized and comes with a case.

Bad service: -1.  I see complaints of slow or no delivery.  One person writesThe money has already been taken out of my account, where are my glasses?  They were ordered on October 6th, 2017?”  “I placed an order and never received the night vision glasses.  No way to contact them.  Website not available. No way to track the shipping number they gave me.  It is a scam.  They just kept my money,writes another.

Total score; -1

Unauthorized charges: I’ve seen some complaints about this, but it looks like the real problem is slow delivery.  Some of the small sellers collect orders until they have enough money to buy a case of whatever they’re selling.  A bad sign; ClearSight doesn’t accept PayPal.

Conclusion: Buy some drivers’ glasses at your pharmacy.  There you can try them on and test them and, if necessary, return them without a hassle.

 

Fun with faces; an easy way to catch scammers lying

All you have to do is catch them lying … about anything.

For the past year or more, I’ve been outing web scammers based on my ten-point Scam-O-Meter scoring system.  If ten points sounds too complicated, here’s a tip; all you have to do is catch them lying.  Catch them lying about anything.  Once you do, that’s all you need to know, unless you’re happy with forking over your credit card data to a liar.

A very easy lie to check is any portrait that you see on a web page.  I prefer to use portraits of people giving rave testimonials, if the web page has them.  Portraits of satisfied customers, doctors and other experts, or the supposed founder or owner of the business give good results too.  I’ve even found a scammer who posted an image of his supposed building that really belonged to a different business.

While it’s not true that “A picture never lies,” it is true that this kind of lie is ridiculously easy to spot.   Here’s how to do it:

  1. Store a copy of the photo on your device
  2. Run a Google Image Search on the photo
  3. The search results reveal the lie

1: Store a copy of the photo on your device

Our example is this ad for ClearSight night-vision glasses I noticed on Facebook.  Normally, you can alt-click on a photo on a web page and capture it.  Here I am doing it on a different web page in MacOS on the Sierra browser.  Other OSs and browsers have basically the same feature.  When I alt-click the image, a floating menu pops up.  I select “Save image as …” and go thru the usual dialog to pick a folder in which to save it.

save as

Some web pages are designed such that you can’t grab the individual image so easily.  (And that evasiveness should already be ringing an alarm bell if you were thinking about buying something from them.). For example, ClearSight Glasses won’t let me grab a portrait next to a testimonial.  “Save image as …” doesn’t come up on the menu.cant save

got himThis isn’t really an obstacle.  On a Mac it’s easy to capture all or part of a screen image; and other OSs have a similar feature.  There’s no way a scammer can keep me from recording the pixels on my own computer’s display, and a screen-cap is all I need.  For me, it’s [Apple] [shift] [4]; my mouse pointer turns into crosshairs.  I draw a box around the part of the screen I want, and whatever is inside (like Andy Barns) gets stored on my computer.  Got him!

2: Run a Google Image Search on the photo

Go to Google Images.  Click on the camera.search 1

Two tabs appear.  Click Upload an image.  Then click Choose file.search 2

Navigate to the image or screen cap you saved on your device and run the search.

3: The search results reveal the lie

We’re looking for any of these results:

  • The picture is from a stock photo service.
  • The picture obviously belongs to someone else.  Stolen, probably.
  • The picture appears in lots of ads, with a different name in every ad.

If none of these is true, the web page passes the lie detector test … that test, anyway.

Here’s what the top of an image search result looks like.  Scrolling further down, you’ll find links to any web pages that contain the same picture.  I’ve found that some of the pages don’t have the picture I was looking for.  Maybe they were changed after Google indexed them.  Or maybe the picture was part of an ad that didn’t appear in the page on this round.

results

You’ve been very patient to read this far!  So now let’s enjoy some of the results of my search on the portrait from the ClearSight testimonial.

It turns out that Andy Barns has really gotten around.  Here he is pitching a shoe-polishing gadget for Equerry, only he’s Steven Graham:

test 2

This versatile man is also a massage specialist (no name?) for LotusInParis:

masseur

And now as Bruce The Builder pitching Cheddar, a loan company.  Notice he’s moved from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Pennsylvania.  Must have; it’d be a hell of a commute:

builder

There’s way, way more to Andy Barns’ online career.  Let’s look at just one more item; here’s a knockoff of The Onion having some fun with Robert Alexander, played by our friend Andy.

yam

If I’d been considering buying a pair of ClearSight night vision glasses, I’d have given up the idea by now.

I didn’t find a stock photo service selling Andy Barn’s picture.  So I’m guessing it was originally stolen from somebody’s online post, simply by copying it to a file as I explained earlier.  I’m a lot more cautious now about posting pictures of myself and anybody I know!

 

Bitten by Bella Labs teeth whitening system (2017)

Then my bank cancelled my card and they took out on my husbands different card. This is ridiculous and my bank is like they get away with it and they don’t give us any info to track. So now both my bank card and my husbands have to be cancelled.

October 25, 2017: The above is from PissedConsumer.com re: Bella Labs’ wrinkle cream free trial / auto-ship scam.

I was hoping that by now Bella Labs’ teeth whitening product that I wrote about in July 2016 had bitten the dust.  But this scam isn’t brushed off that easily.  There may be nothing illegal or wrong with the following business practices. But they suggest that the seller is not to be trusted. I’m using my Scam-O-Meter scoring system; -1 means true (bad), +1 means false (good), and 0 means undetermined. I penalize the seller for statements made by shills.  Contact information:

Website: Bella Labs
US phone: (818) 303-9260. (See web site for other countries.)

Ridiculous claims: -1

  • “Dentists around the world are raving about the benefits that come from at-home teeth whitening systems.”  They might switch to ranting after reading the next one.
  • Best-TeethWhitening-Kit.com: “You can, of course, go to the dentist. But what’s the point of wasting so much money on several treatments to bleach or whiten your teeth, when you can use Bella Teeth Whitening System at home?”
  • From the same reviewer: “According to studies, people with whiter smiles tend to have a healthier personal life and earn more money.”  Okay, “studies” is plural; let’s see two of them.
  • PerfectTeethPenBlog.com: “Works effortlessly in delivering professional teeth whitening treatment at home, in the office or anywhere you feel comfortable.”  Yes, you’ll look great sitting at your desk drooling with this plastic thing in your mouth.  Driving might be a good time, too.  Or you could work in a quick whitening while riding the subway.

Carmen_SandiegoSuspicious location: -1.  Bella Labs doesn’t disclose their physical address.  Their T&Cs don’t even mention the state or nation whose laws govern the agreement.  So I present my Carmen Sandiego “Where In The World’ Award.

Onerous terms: -1guarantee

  • They may charge a 5% checkout fee.
  • Once you submit an order, you can’t cancel it.
  • You can’t return an opened or used item.  This makes a risk-free trial rather difficult.
  • If you ordered a set of items, you have to return the whole set unopened and unused to avoid a penalty.
  • They charge a $10 restocking fee per unopened, unused item that you return.
  • They run an auto-ship program.  It isn’t clear how you avoid joining it.
  • They don’t guarantee that anything they say is true.
  • You can’t sue them, join a class action that’s suing them, or join a group arbitration.

Ads, spam, robocalls: -1

  • They’ll beam ads at you; spam, junkmail and robocall you; and text you at your expense.  You can opt out.
  • If you registered on a do-not-call list, hahahaha!
  • They’ll share your data with other companies that will do the same.
  • If they sell their company, your data is part of the deal.

Lying and deception: -1.  Everybody knows that “free” means you don’t have to pay for the thing.  Not now; not ever.  Right?  But not these guys.  offer

How interesting that 29.97 * 5 = 149.85.  This means that they charge the same price for the “free” boxes and the boxes that are not “free.”

Obfuscation: +1.   None found.

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 4.49.05 PMPhony reviews: -1.  On-site testimonials are fake.  “Lisa in New York’s” picture is for sale on iStock.  “Publisher”reviews-for-hire include Best-Teethwhitening-Kit.com and (charmingly unique English) PerfectTeethPenBlog.com.

Crummy product: -1.  See “One of the worst teeth-whitening products.”

Overpriced: -1.  Bella Labs is asking $30 per month.  Compare this to Amazon’s All Star Whitening offering; $25 for a starter kit that includes your first month’s supply of gel, and $7.59 for a month’s supply of gel.  With Amazon there’s no danger of getting entangled in an auto-ship scheme without your knowledge.  All Star Whitening also looks like a better quality product.

Bad service: -1.  PissedConsumer.com has many complaints about this.

Total score; -8

Unauthorized charges: PissedConsumer.com is stuffed with complaints about Bella Labs’ free trial sample scam.  I saw mention of an auto-ship service in the T&Cs, so if you buy anything from them it’s possible you’ll discover you’ve somehow enrolled in it. Another bad sign: Bella Labs doesn’t accept PayPal.  I’m turning on the CREDIT CARD RISK ALERT red light.

Other: ScamAdvisor.com notes “Low trust rating.  This site may not be safe to use.”

Conclusion: Stay far away from Bella Labs.