Saturday, May 6, 2017

I Got a Call from 757-302-5667

 A few days ago, my voicemail recorded this message that was obviously sent from a robo-caller:
“Hi this is Bob I'm following up with you regarding the business opportunity um my number is 757-302-5667 we did want to get a hold of you to make sure that you're aware there is an expiration date on the products and services that we provide and we want to get you involved right away today please give me a call at 757-302-5667"
Not knowing who "Bob" is, but immediately realizing that he was full of shit, I called him back using a burner phone I keep for such occasions and heard this recorded message. I transcribed it as best as I could, but "Bob's" delivery is rather amateurish:
"Thank you for your interest in our business opportunity!

This is a twenty year old established, international company that launched an FDA registered patented medical device with impressive endorsements and massive R and D research behind it in North America.

It's already being used in over 4000 hospitals and clinics in Europe and this product is loaded with credibility and sales are destined to explode in the United States in a short period of time.

Part-time, full-time and regional management opportunities are available and there's already staggering incomes being generated.

With over one million units sold overseas markets, with less than a .08% return rate - that's less than 1% - and mind-blowing results, you cannot miss with this opportunity.

We want you. You've listened to our messages, you've heard what we've had to say, but now it's your turn to leave your name, your phone number and a brief message and we will contact you in a short period of time.

Again, leave your name and phone number and we'll contact you in a short period of time.

There's over a thousand brand-name athletes calling this revolutionary patented medical device 'their secret weapon' and we want you to sell it for us. NASA just signed a collaboration contract to use this technology in their space suits.

To receive a private invitation to our next upcoming webinar, please respond. By leaving your name and phone number and you can leave your email address and we will send you a link to that webinar.

Again, leave your name, phone number and email address and we'll get right back to you."

This sounded like just another multi-level marketing scheme making its way around the Internet. What drew my interest in it was the noted lack of details regarding what the product is or even the name of the company behind it all. If you're trying to sell a product or trying to recruit others to sell it for you, details like those would likely be the first things you'd share. The only way for me to get that information is to give them my name, phone number and email address, which they could then sell to other multi-level marketers who might want to contact me in the future.

Not wanting to sit and wait for specifics to come from these people, I put my Googling Skillz to work.

It wasn't long before I learned that the company behind the intrusion into my voicemail is called BEMER.

I found this Craigslist ad seeking people to sell it and the text of the ad reads very closely to the speech given at the number I called. Like the recorded messages, the ad does not identify the company or tell us what the product does, though it does refer to their product as being a type of "electroceutical", which I guess means that it uses electrical pulses as a form of physical therapy, though the method isn't specified.

I kept looking and soon found this Facebook post which also read like the recorded messages and the Craigslist post. Looking through the timeline of Hugo Natural Health Center, I found repeated references to BEMER. In fact, Hugo Natural Health Center is quite evangelical about it. I decided to look at this to see if I had found this mysterious "electroceutical" device Bob was talking about.

Going to the American website for this company, it seems legitimate enough and they do encourage you to check PubMed for scientific studies that validate that their product does provide medical relief for users. Trying to actually find these studies in the search results is a bit challenging, due to the number of people named "Bemer", but you can find them, as few as they are.

But, most non-scientists don't know how to properly read a paper from a scientific journal and may be overwhelmed by the repeated use of scientific terminology. So, while interesting, they don't really give laymen much information with which to make an educated judgement on whether or not they might want to sell these products. If you have a friend or relative with an education in medicine, then you could have them look the papers over for you. Otherwise, you're out of your league.

It would be interesting to have a scientist with appropriate background look through those studies and provide their observations in terms a layman would be able to understand. I tried my best, but the only parts I hoped to fathom were the Conclusions, which usually include the words "more studies are needed" somewhere in the text. 

But, let's look at it from an angle we can all relate to: why would BEMER want to take an average person, without the background education needed to actually understand how and why the product works, to go out and try to sell them? Promises of "staggering incomes" may entice some people into it, only to discover that they were in over their heads and trying to sell something they actually know very little about.

Seriously, how am I go to sell something that I don't even understand? I don't understand auto mechanics either, so I wouldn't make a good car salesman. BEMER is looking for people to sell a medical device who probably don't even have a basic understanding of medical technology!

And these products are expensive, ranging anywhere from $4,290 for the Classic Set to $5,990 to the Pro Set, putting it out of range for most people. I still remember those home gyms people were buying in the 80s and 90s, with the big price tags that people used once or twice before putting it in storage to gather dust. BEMER has competitors selling similar products that are much cheaper, though I'm not claiming those products are as good or better.

What about what BEMER says about itself, apart from all the claims of benefits for users of its products? Well, to discover the answer to that question, you practically have to dig through the website for the answer, because it is buried deep, deep, fucking deep where most people would have a hard time even finding it.

You have to go to this page, scroll to the bottom and click on "Terms and Conditions" where a pop-up displays the "BEMER USA, LLC., Customer Terms & Conditions (USA)". 
First, look at section 8 "Customer/Ibd Responsibility and Waiver and Consent", subsections 3 and 4:
3. I understand the product(s) purchased from BEMER are not intended for use in diagnosis, treatment, cure, or mitigation of any specific disease.
4. I acknowledge that BEMER does not practice medicine.
I assume that an IBD is an Independent BEMER Distributor.

Then, go down to section 9 "Disclaimer: Health Related Information" and you will see this:
The BEMER Pro-Set and BEMER Classic-Set are an FDA registered medical device class 1. All information presented by BEMER is intended to be used for educational and/or informational purposes only. BEMER products are in no way a substitute for professional medical care. There are no health benefit claims being made concerning BEMER products. Statements made have not been evaluated by the FDA or other governmental agencies and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical conditions or diseases. All testimonials express the opinion and experiences of customers, IBD and not that of BEMER. The word therapy used herein is not used to refer to any medical therapy but to general non-medical therapy, e.g., aroma therapy or exercise therapy. Do not use the information for diagnosing or treating any health problems or diseases. Please consult with your own physician or healthcare practitioner if you have medical concerns.
 So, there it is, BEMER itself admits that their products aren't meant as a treatment for any particular disease or physical ailment, regardless of what their sales representatives tell you.

"But, wait!", you might be saying now "What about their contract with NASA?".

What about it? NASA has contracts with a lot of companies and BEMER doesn't provide any specifics about what their supposed "contract" involves. Here's a site that discuses this supposed "agreement" in detail and you can look over the homepage at your leisure.

As far as the the thousand athletes calling this thing their "secret weapon"? Obviously, it's not much of a secret if a thousand people are talking about it. Besides, the names of the athletes aren't provided, so who cares?

If BEMER is going to claim that over 4000 hospitals and clinics in Europe are using their product, how about providing us with the names of these institutions, so that they can be contacted and this claim verified?

As the Internet often says: Pics or it didn't happen.

In Conclusion

The whole sales pitch I heard from "Bob" sounded just like the kind of bullshit I've heard from people trying to lure me into selling Herbalife: make big money, high tech, lots of credibility, blah, blah, blah.

Real medical technology companies don't take John Q Citizen off the street and get him selling their products to friends and family. No, they send their representatives to companies and organizations that run hospitals and laboratories to show them their product and its documentation. Those companies and organizations then look over the data and make the decisions whether or not to sign a contract.

That's how it's done in Real Life.

Duane Browning

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