Targeting Weight Loss

1 decade 2 years 5 months ago Thursday, March 16 2006 Mar 16, 2006 Thursday, March 16, 2006 1:46:12 PM CST March 16, 2006 in News

Geri's Person to Person offers customers a chance to lose weight based on a strict diet with little or no exercise. But, some clients said, its program isn't the best or safest.

Holly Jarboe has danced for 17 years. When she decided her daily eight hours of dance wasn't helping her shed a couple of extra pounds, she went to Geri's Person to Person. But, with an average of five shakes, a dozen different pills a day, and little or no solid food, Jarboe realized something was wrong.

"I knew it wasn't possible," she recalled. "I got a lot of comments from my dancer friends, saying, 'You are really going to mess your body up and, if you aren't careful, being all fatigued, you're going to slip and you're going to end up injuring yourself or something. Something bad is going to happen.'"

Jarboe was right, there was something wrong. Someone who is not a registered dietician in Missouri was selling diet pills to her. Geri's Person to Person said it works with a dietician to develop programs, but no clients Target 8 talked with ever met that person.

"I know that she was working for one," said Jarboe. "She was basically distributing these pills and info and all, but she never gave me the name. I never met the person, and I don't even know if the person knows of us as clients."

Geri and her lawyer refused to comment or to return Target 8's repeated phone calls. However, Target 8 did get a box of shakes that are part of the company's program. Clients said Geri's Person to Person puts its own labels on the shakes over another company's. However, that could be legal.

"People can contact manufacturers and get their permission to put their own labels on the original product," explained attorney Richard Holtmeyer. "With some items, you may be violating federal law and state law by placing an item or placing a label on top of another, because you are covering up food additives and allergen information, and you can really hurt people by doing that."

A client, who asked Target 8 not to identify her, said she was told the products were Geri's and could only be bought through the company. But, the client said she later found them on the Internet, at a lower price.

"She's not what she says she is, and she doesn't give you what you pay for. She actually told me I probably knew more than she did."

But, those dissatisfied clients can't rely on a written contract because there is none.

"The contract she provided to me has someone else's name on it, and she scribbled it out and gave it to me, so I have a copy of it. There's nothing that we signed that is in her office."

Geri's Person to Person has an "unsatisfactory" record with the Better Busines Bureau because it said Geri's did not respond to two or more complaints about customer service, refunds or exchanges, and contracts. The Better Business Bureau said all those complaints were closed because of no response from Geri's.

Jarboe has discontinued her program at Person to Person.

"It wasn't worth the risk of my health, I guess, at the end," she said.

Jarboe and the other client have stopped using the company's weight-loss program, but Geri's won't refund their money. Both former customers said they are healthier, happier, and not discouraged from trying to reach their weight-loss goals.

Geri's Person to Person has moved to a different Columbia location.

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