Thursday, November 17, 2005

Who is buying this stuff?

Big news! Looks like you can go ahead and sell your Power 90 on ebay. Return your Turbo Jam. Drag your treadmill and other equipment out to your next yard sale. Turns out, if you want to lose fat and inches fast, there is no need to exercise or eat right according the makers of the Velform Sauna Belt, MZ Direct Response.

"Will exercise give you fast results?... Not a chance!"

"You'll immediately see results with no effort!"



And from their website: "The Amazing new Velform Sauna Belt helps you to sweat away unwanted fat, eliminate cellulite, lose weight and ease muscle pain - all while sitting in the comfort of your own home."

Who watches that guy take the Sauna Belt off and believes he got those abs with that thing? And is the couple hundred bucks the model received for this shoot worth more than his self-respect? I just don't get it. This infomercial has climbed through the ratings chart from its recent debut, up to the top 15. Their media buyers are out-bidding other infomercial marketers to place the Sauna Belt show in prime media. They are positioning themselves for an enormous rollout in 2006. And from what we have heard, there are already knock-offs in development. So not only will you see ads for this one, there will be three or four copycats on the air promising results of "one inch in one hour". Does that media agency care so much about making their commission on this client that they are willing to further tarnish the already strained perception of the infomercial medium? And do the stations that accept this kind of advertising really care that little about their viewers? This business can be remarkably productive for generating customers, but not for long if the leaders in the industry as a whole don't use professional discretion.

"But how can they afford to even market this product?" you ask. "Haven't we already learned not to buy this stuff?"

Guess not... Because people are buying it. A lot of people are buying it. People didn't learn from the hundreds of thousands of units of "Ab Stimulator" belts sold three years ago which then got yanked off the market by the FTC. People didn't learn from the "Ab Roller craze" and subsequent "Ab Roller garage sale" craze years later.

No matter how many times the morning news shows and Oprah pronounce that the only healthy solution is "exercise and portion control", there will always be consumers looking for a short-cut, even if it's insane, and there will always be a new fast-buck company willing to scorch the earth under an entire industry for a one-off hit. That's the environment Beachbody is operating in. But we will not be deterred. We will always pursue solutions that work. We will always preach a message of a healthy lifestyle.

Look at this book shelf at a nearby Barnes & Noble. That's over 25 titles, each promising THE ANSWER to your weight loss needs. Each with its own unique twist, each with a promise of being the last book you'll ever need.

Different strokes for different folks. That's why we have multiple brands and solutions at Beachbody, from ten minutes a day, to six weeks, to 90 days and more. As long as the message is clear, and based on proven healthy principles, the innovation will continue. But they are all rooted in the same basic premise that you need to both exercise, and improve your diet choices.

One of the reasons that we adopted the "Decide. Commit. Succeed" motto is that it's important to carefully "decide" when choosing the solution that's right for you. Don't just follow the latest hot one you read about in People Magazine. Choose something that makes sense for you. If it doesn't make sense to you, then it's not for you, because you'll lose faith in it quickly. It has to make sense!

And of course, wrapping a piece of plastic and velcro around your waist doesn't make sense if you want to lose fat and inches and be healthy. Eating ONLY protein doesn't make sense. Popping a pill doesn't make sense.

I know Beachbody is not perfect. We have our own customer complaints. But never do we not get things resolved, and never do we actively set out to disrespect the customer. In case the folks at MZ Direct are reading this, as one businessman to another, wouldn't it be more rewarding to create wealth by helping people succeed and improve their lives? There's a lot of opportunity in the world. Choose the one that makes this a better experience for everyone, not the one that abuses the privilege for your own benefit.

35 comments:

AZTLGRL said...

Oooh makes me want to bitch slap those MZ Direct guys with their own sauna belt...Anyone who buys that, go ahead and wrap it around your head so you can suck off the last of your IQ points...You don't need them if you're buying that crap.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Good article on some of the crap out there claiming to lose weight! Ive seen that infomercial on but have never watched it. Can you say JUNK! Exercise and diet are the only things that will work for weightloss, we all know that. Well except these folks are just figuring that out. Check out these reviews! Bummer people fall for these things.

http://www.fitnessinfomercialreview.com/velform_sauna_belt.htm

Kimmi36

Soleil V. from CA said...

I'm really glad Beachbody doesn't succumb to useless fitness junk. It's great to know that when you come up with new fitness programs, you don't let us buy new fitness gadgets. We just use dumbbells/bands, mat and possibly stability ball. I hope you maintain at. Or if you plan to use more gadgets - these gadgets would be used in several fitness programs and not just one program. I admire that your Advice Staff/Staff Advisor doesn't push down Beachbody weight loss supplements down our throat. In fact, he doesn't even hard or soft-sell it when people ask if they need it. He would say that the most important thing is to eat clean and healthy and work out. I've been reading his forum and I'm impressed by his advice to the newbies. Moreover, what I also admire about your company is that you just don't just settle with beginner level fitness programs but help the home exerciser to challenge himself by doing more advanced routines (P90X, Slim Series...hopefully MORE advanced Turbo Jam and Project You!). Keep doing more advanced and effective fitness programs! We love it!

pjamok said...

I am a customer who always raved about your product. I recently ordered a special offer for a friend, and am now being automatically billed by beachbody.com for products I didn't order and don't want. Automatically billing people's accounts is illegal and immoral. Make money the honest way. I dare you to leave this posting up. pjamok.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion: Can you please give us the option to purchase ONLINE the entire Power 90, Slim in 6, or Project You sets in ONE PAYMENT AND 3 MONTH PAYMENT SCHEME OPTIONS. You offered the 3 month payment scheme before for Power 90, Slim in 6 and Project You. Now, this offer is gone. Presently what I see is the "every 45 day subscription" offer wherein you automatically send us a DVD and charge us for it. I think a lot of us don't want to be automatically charged or shipped a product. If we want to try Power 90, we'd like see and to try the entire product...and then if we don't like it, we can just ship it back to you less shipping and handling.

Angela

azteclady said...

Who's buying this stuff? Well, the same people who have bought every single fad diet system/book and at-home, no-effort, instant-miraculous-results exercise gadget for the past two or three decades. These are the people who will spend hundred of dollars a year in order to be able to tell themselves that they've tried everything and that nothing works for them, while stopping daily at one or more fast food joint and constantly stuffing their faces with soda. Denial ain't a river in Egypt.

As far as the subscription thingie and unwanted credit card charges - I have to agree to a point with anonymous and pjamok.

I originally ordered Power90 at the infomercial price, and thought (my mistake, I came to understand) that I would receive levels 1/2 and 3/4 for the same price. Instead I got only the first DVD and I wasn't pleased at all to be charged $70 something to my credit card some six weeks later. It took a long phone call to get a partial refund, since level 3/4 and a resistance band had already been sent, but to Beachbody's customer service credit, it was refunded, and I got no more charges from them.

On the plus side, the program works because it emphasizes over and over that it depends on the customer to make it work - it eliminates the possibility of shifting responsibility/blame to the company, the customer service representative, heredity or the government. The product gives you the plan, YOU do the work, and you'll see results.

Carl Daikeler said...

pjamok - I have no problem leaving your post up, because we're constantly working to improve the offer-set so people will both be compelled to order these programs (because they work) and continue pushing play to get long term results. For every complaint we get about continuity shipments we get one asking why their shipment is a few days late. To that end though, we are trying to engineer things so people have the option to set-up continuity or take product in one swoop like we used to do. But it's more complex than it sounds (which is frustrating to all of us, frankly.)

Like I admitted in my blog post - we're not perfect. I don't know any company (or person who is). I hope to demonstrate here that as the web has made companies transparent, we won't hide behind any form of defense except the constant pursuit of creating satisfied customers.

As I drove by Malibu Fitness Club today and read their special $39.95 a month membership poster hanging outside - $479 a year just to be able to walk through their door (or not) - I felt pretty good about the value that we deliver for DVD's hosted by world-class talent which you get to keep forever, and an exceptionally positive and supportive community.

But I promise, we will never "stick you" with product. Everything has a money back guarantee - and we have drastically expanded customer service to make resolution of any mistakes easier.

Thanks to every one who has given us the chance to serve you, and thanks to every one who has given themselves the self-respect of choosing fitness programs that work.

leannwoo said...

Thank you Carl. I have always felt that Beachbody was an honest company.

The only issue customer service was never able to resolve for me were defective tapes I recieved as a gift. I felt that I didn't want to tell the friend they were defective, I just wanted to notify the company and get a new set of PHH tapes. Well, it doesn't work that way. :) I still use my defective PHH tapes because I love Tony. I don't have any sound on one of the, and on another it jumps so bad I can't see. LOL! But they were a gift, so I'm not out anything.

I do agree, that I would like the option to buy a whole series again. My P90 videos are getting really old and I would love to get the complete set of DVD's but I haven't figured out how.


You have a wonderful company Carl. I love to tell people about Beachbody and what it can do for them. Your customer service team has always been very pleasant and helpful, even when they are unable to help, they are still very pleasant. You've done good. :)

AZTLGRL said...

Hey PJ try customer service 1st before you start ranting and throwing around "dares" like a juvenile...What is this? the Christmas Story with Ralphie? Get real. Approach a complaint with the maturity of an adult and you will be respectfully answered like one.

I admire you Carl for being so patient. Even though I may not agree with the automated billing I appreciate you taking the time to explain and respond....I have "roll eye" moments when I read "certain" posts here and you handle them so graciously.

Carl Daikeler said...

You crack me up. Ralphie. "Don't order from Beachbody - you'll put your eye out!"

Grace is not an option if you don't want to be in constant hell. Then again, the millions we could reap selling a sauna belt sounds tempting... "The Slim in 6 Suana Belt... By Beachco!" eh. Screw it. We'll just keep sending faulty Power Half Hour tapes to people to make our money. MUCH more honest.

Oh - as for that -- the company will replace those I swear. Call customer service, and tell 'em you heard it here. Gift or not - the stuff's supposed to work. Well... when they're gifts, they should work at least 51% of the time or your money back. Anyway - call CS and tell 'em AZTLGRL sent you.

Neeeena said...

LOL, gah, I love you guys.

AZTLGRL said...

If you can figure out what AZTLGRL means...Go on...I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!

leannwoo said...

O...M...G! You guys are killing me! I love it.


Carl, 3 of the tapes work so isn't that more than the 51% anyways! LOL! It was way over a year ago, so no biggie. I swear. I double dog swear on Sancho. Now, maybe that was a little too far. But anyways there ain't nothing but love. Dang I feel I should break into song, but Heather and Nina would hurt me. Carl's too nice for that!

Belle said...

Carl, you are so right on in this post!! I'm always a little offended by infomercials for those kind of products. As my dad always said, if being skinny and healthy was THAT easy (i.e. looking for instant miracle cure), then there would be NO fat people around!

As for BB CS, I simply appreciate the fact that every person I've talked to has always been very pleasant to deal w/ (whether on the phone or thru live chat). After many tries, I got a remastered copy of Cardio Party 2 that works perfectly, and that's all thanks to CS. (BTW Carl, we can't wait for the new TJ w/os!! :;)

And as for you, aztlgrl, I'm not gonna cheat and reveal what your name means since I've seen you explain it in Chalene's chat! LOL

Carl, thanks for making more w/os for all of us to enjoy. Hopefully, for my pocketbook, I'll just stay addicted to Turbo Jam, thank you very much. :D

Anonymous said...

Dearest Carl,

I almost didn't post this in fear of aztlgrl (NOT). I realize that you kind of think that I am mad at you personally. But I ain't!

First I love your products, the work because they make exercising fun, even that Debbie French Squat lady! *smile* I have successfully pushed play everyday for 6 months! I love the support I get from the boards!

I LOATHE the ordering website! I rarely have a good experience with it. It keeps me from spending MEGA bucks with your company. Really it does! I know quite a few folks who are "making due" with P90 because of the ordering system AND then having to deal with customer service. I personally am buying P90 and TJ as Christmas presents for family and friends...I haven't done so yet because I have to be in the right frame of mind to deal with your website. That's a sad statement for such an amazing company!

The last two times I dealt with CS have been wonderful so they are improving (and these are NOT the "out of the USA" folks either). However, if you tweaked your website a tiny bit you would REDUCE (yes, REDUCE)the number of customer service calls.

Like I said I almost didn't write this because I am sure someone will think G-Mama is an evil, whiner. But as a consumer, I have to keep telling you (until you really listen) that you have the most amazing products and could be making TONS more money if you tweaked your website ordering process.

NOW here's the part that really matters...As a librarian/website critic I have to say: If your website designer says that it's too hard to change the website, ordering process, etc. THEN it is time to get a new ONE designer! It ain't that hard to fix, really!

Finally, I am available to consult with your designer for free! Now understand that librarians do this for a living (help folks get info easily). I have dealt with a gazillion websites and only recommend to best to my users. So I know good from not-so-good. AND you'd get it for FREE! (something that I have never offered before)

I know folks are going to think this is harsh and that you'll write me off as some quack and ignore me in chat *smile* but I had to say it.

AND I only say it because I LOVE YOUR PRODUCTS! I love Tony and Chalene! I love Debbie most of the time too! (smile) I want to buy lots and lots of stuff! I have lots of BB web friends that want to buy lots of stuff but have the same issues.

Love,

G-Mama aka grendelsmama

grendelsmama@mybeachbody.com or
wilddog_1979@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

G-Mama, I think you did the right thing! I agree with you. All these constructive criticisms are only for the best of Beachbody! Carl, we love our Beachbody products and we want to see your company continually grow and succeed so you can help more and more people. Major improvements in customer service is a must but you did say we will see huge improvements in the next 6 months - so we are looking forward to that :) Also, please address the issues of unwanted credit card charges, automated delivery of products we never ordered, a variety of options to pay for a particular fitness program (and not just the introductory program). EVERY company has problems and NO ONE IS PERFECT but we are here as your loyal customers who would like to see your company go from good to better to BEST :)

D

AZTLGRL said...

G-Mama and D,

See THAT'S the kind of constructive criticism that is appreciated. It's respectful and truthful without being immature and taking personal attacks or insults. I didn't find one "whiney" point in your entire post G-Mama....I didn't roll my eyes once (NOT) lol...And whoever ingnores you in chat is missing out because you are hilarious.

Carl Daikeler said...

You guys are awesome. I feel the love. I want to hug my computer. aldjvhqvyqpybxypioh.gjkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkn;uerc
(I guess that's what types when you hug your computer. Computer talk for "I can't breathe")

pjamok said...

Guys, I agree that all companies have their problems. But most don't automatically ship you items you didn't order. This is the first time this has happened to me with any of the numerous companies I've ordered from. It can be easily stopped. No automatic shipping unless you indicate that's what you're signing up for. Maybe an email that requires a response so the customer knows what's going on. I've always loved the products, but you have to understand that an automatic charge to some people is a big economic problem. Many of us don't have unlimited funds and live paycheck to paycheck. This kind of charge can overdraft accounts, bounce checks, etc. Plus, I now have to pay for return shipping on an item I didn't order. Excuse me if I'm skeptical of the companies ethics; our current corporate culture demands that. I also haven't seen a refund on my account as of yet, so I'm holding off final judgement until the "30 to 60 days for a refund" that customer service indicates passes--but first I have to get the product I was billed for but still haven't received. There is a much better way to do business and with this quality product, there's no need for what, to the consumer, comes across as underhanded marketing. I'll let you know how it goes.

irish_robbie said...

Ah CRAP! I wish I hadn't just read the first paragraph of your post Carl!

I just sold all my DVD's and bought the Ab Belt...

Can I get a deal on re-purchasing them at least?

And since you guys are throwing around quotes from my favorite movie

"I CAN'T PUT MY ARMS DOWN"

Anonymous said...

Hey pjamok - I've only ordered one product from Beachbody that has the automatic shipping option (Yoga Booty Ballet). When you're ordering (online, anyways, as that's the only way I've ordered from them), there are a series of screens before you get to the final total - if there are any automatic shipments (whether it be dvd's, supplement trials - whatever) you have to either decline or accept (i.e. agree to buy) before you're taken to the next screen, so you would know upfront if you're purchasing more items & thus accepting new charges. I wouldn't say it's immoral - I think any company that sells anything will try to upsell. In my case, I decided to decline the auto shipments, so I have not had any charges since.

I do agree that there are areas in which BB needs to improve the CS skills, but being in CS myself, no company is perfect in any way really. I've only recently started purchasing from Beachbody and, yes, I have had some issues but they were quickly resolved by the CSR's (seriously, within minutes).

Off topic of the wacky ab belt but figured it needed to be said.

amywamy

Vivian said...

Carl, I was wondering if you can just put the additional items/accessories on one screen and then we just check or click on the items we want (vitamins, supplements, bands, mybeachbody.com service, etc.) so we don't have to thru several screens just to reach the final total screen. It can be confusing. I personally thought the screens will never end - it's a good thing I reached the finished line :) :D

amyway said: "When you're ordering, there are a series of screens before you get to the final total - if there are any automatic shipments (whether it be dvd's, supplement trials - whatever) you have to either decline or accept (i.e. agree to buy) before you're taken to the next screen, so you would know upfront if you're purchasing more items & thus accepting new charges."

azteclady said...

In my case, my problem was with the original phone operator. I told him [very explicitely and specifically] that I didn't want anything but the package as offered on the infomercial - no subscription, no extra charges. In my ignorance ;) I thought that meant the entire Power90 program [levels 1/2 and 3/4]. As I said before, it didn't work that way - I got charged for the 3/4 DVDs and a resistance band, and it took a long phone call to get a partial refund.

As pjamok said, for some people an unexpected $45 credit card charge can really mess up the monthly budget *raising my hand* and waiting six weeks for a $19.95 refund is no picnic either. [I need to clarify - in my first comment posted I said '$70 something' but that was inaccurate; I just checked and the above are the correct amounts]

Carl, I like Power90, and I've seen the results, but I've hesitated to order anything more from Beachbody because of the original mixup. You guys may want to consider that some people who really, really like your products do not become repeat customers because of things like these.

Anonymous said...

Carl

I would like to know if the entire Power 90 Master series is available to order online? I just talked to some folks at online chat and they said that the last 2 (UML and Cardio Intervals) are already for sale but they are not posted in the website? Why is that? A lot of us are waiting to purchase the entire set. Thanks.

Jill

leannwoo said...

Carl...
I love ya man! Hubby says I can't kiss you! But you know I would anyway!

You made a really crappy day turn into a big grin, can't wait to get home day. You're awesome.

stephanie said...

Carl - AMEN BROTHA! I loved this post! It's so true. And you guys at BeachBody are awesome...selling programs that work - go figure!

aztlgrl - okay first off I know what your little name here stands for...want me to tell??? And second - your very first post cracked me up girl. You are so crazy! But I agree with ya!

stephanie aka stufaweni

pjamok said...

When I ordered, apparently there was a link you had to click on to specifically decline the auto shipping, it wasn't asked on the screen I was on. I just received the package, which is stamped with a message saying, "refund for this package is not guaranteed if this delivery is refused." I've NEVER seen that on any company's packaging--this tells me that they have numerous problems with people getting merchandise they didn't want/order. If you refuse shipping from any reputable company, they will refund your account when they get the unopened package. This is just bad business. The powers that be are smart enough to know what they're doing--shame on them and you, Carl. I will never do business with your company again. You have a good product, but really unethical sales techniques.

Carl Daikeler said...

A refused shipment isn't tracked, and often are lost. So a customer who simply refuses a shipment has that nagging question as to "when will I get a refund". They call and then get annoyed with Customer Service when they demand a refund, but customer service has no record of a return authorization or returned merchandise. Like I said before, it's a complex system that clearly needs improvement. But I assure you we do not want your money if you do not want the product.

So, ultimately I am sorry to hear this news. I hope no matter what happens for you, you will stay on course with the healthy lifetyle that motivated you to respond in the first place. Sorry we let you down though.

AZTLGRL said...

Wow Carl, you should just change your name to pinata.

For some, an earnest "I'm Sorry" just isn't good enough even when you do what is int your power to remedy the situation. Thats because these people aren't happy unless they have something to continually and repeatedly complain about.

When I have issues with BB or any other company I take it to the appropriate channels to get it resolved. I definitely do not come to a public forum, NOT meant for complaining, to whine and moan. If you must whine and moan start your own Blog and do it there out of consideration for those who just don't want to hear it anymore. Let it go and move on....

Carl Daikeler said...

You are my defender. My hero. My Sweet, funky stuff.

To be fair, when the customer service auto-response email still says "due to a computer issue it may take us 7 days to respond to your inquiry", I think posting to the one place that seems to get the company's attention (here) is fair game. (we fiexed that auto response, thanks to Virginia bringing it my attention).

This is the downside to operating a company in the age of transparency. But it's also evidence that we are not guilty of what so many people accuse us of; of operating in a way that is INTENDED to abuse the customer relationship. That's not what we're about, and we're not afraid to solve problems no matter what it takes, because we know what our intentions are.

The reason I respond to emails and publish my contact info is because I refuse to hide from problems, and I want to demonstrate to the rest of the company that everyone is accountable to the customer - starting at the top.

Sometimes though, people do take their grievance too far to their own detriment. They let the anger at mistakes of the logistics of a transaction undermine the real value of what they have in their hands. I mean, when you look at the quality of the product, the support you get, the connection with the people that run the place and the trainers themselves, it's pretty amazing compared to what people pay for other fitness/weight loss options. But in this age of Enron and Adelphia scandles, and Sauna Belts and Steroid shooting baseball players, it's not easy to trust much these days. That's why my job is to stay the course, continue to know inside what my intention and action is based on, and not let external judgment knock me of course. So we continue to do what we do, and hope people enjoy the product as it was meant to be enjoyed. Too much information maybe. But it's how I/we tick over here.

Ok. Time to write a blog entry. I've got something fun up my sleeve.

Anonymous said...

Interesting......

http://www.infomercialscams.com/power_90.htm

azteclady said...

Anonymous, did you happen to notice that this "infomercialscams" page is hosted by Leonard Fitness, Inc.? (scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to find that link)

Because, frankly, and personal gripes aside, I would be rather leery about a fitness products company hosting a page with the express purpose of discrediting another fitness products company. It smacks of conflict of interest, if you get my drift. Particularly because they host these complain pages and the same time they peddle the products - there are links to BeachBody products through leonardfitness.com. Follow the links, and you'll find pages of positive reviews, and links to Beachbody.com.

Isn't that interesting too and therefore worth mentioning?

Carl Daikeler said...

That's what is GREAT about the web... it provides transparency to business so no one can hide from the truth, kinda. Although it also shows how a small sample can get blown out of proportion to the general popular opinion. (Kind of similar to the reaction to janet Jackson on the Super Bowl. Did people really care that much about the wardrobe malfunction, or was it blown out of proportion when a few people latched onto the incident... anyway, I digress)

I pay the same attention to the "scam rating" as I do to the positive ratings... they are a small representation of the overall truth of the product experience. Bottom line is - we are doing good work, the Power 90 product is the most amazing breakthrough and simplification of the weight loss struggle in the history of fitness, and yet, we have a lot more work ahead of us.
http://www.infomercialratings.com/product/power90

Katenator said...

Thank You for providing quality products! I have to admit that I came upon the BB site after losing most of my weight with E-Diets. At first I thought it was just a site that tried to sell their products and I wasn't sold. I saw the P90 infomercial and then went back to the BB site to check out if the people were real. They seemed to be (I thought to myself as I was still cautious). I thought on it some more and that next weekend I saw the infomercial again! I was so inpired by Traci M and Diane D> I thought to myself. I'll give it a try. I was so reluctant because I had been burned byt the "promise of a fit bod" many times in my life. I had such great results with P90, I have become a BB addict. I've done YBB, PHH, SI6 and I'm surrently doing Turbo Jam and will do the Masters next! I keep coming back because each product is a quality produt and when used correctly will produce results! I have now been the person inspiring all my friends to order the same products! Several are doing P90 or SI6 right now as I write this! When I saw that infomercial for the sauna belt I just laughed! But the sad part is many other products are not that obvious! Hmmmmmm maybe I need to have a garage sale for all those products that I've purchased that provided nothing but empty promises!

katenator said...

Oh and for the record I have never had anything but a positive experience with Customer Service. I've canceled the auto shipments with no issue and I was fully aware I was going to get them when I purchased the product.