Ookisa – A “Scam” or a “Misunderstanding” ?

by Staff Writer

Ookisa, LLC launched their hair care product line in 2008. A press release was issued in October 2008, titled “Ookisa(TM) Unveils Revolutionary Integrated Hair Thickening Systeme” and the first couple lines read, “OOKISA, LLC announced today the launch of the exclusive, new OOKISA Hair Thickening Systéme, an innovative and complete approach to hair health and beauty formulated specifically to increase hair volume and dimension while addressing the issue of weak, thinning hair and hair loss.

The product line they currently offer includes a:
Fortifying Shampoo
Replenishing Conditioner
Instant Volumizing Souffle
Nighttime Follicle Renewal Serum

It appears to be the “Nighttime Follicle Renewal Serum” that boasts it’s anti-thinning properties. The description for the product states “Nighttime Follicle Renewing Serum works with the body’s natural renewal cycle. This leave-in treatment absorbs and gently cascades to the scalp; calming, soothing and healing along the way. This formula not only prevents thinning, loss and splitting.”

With that last sentence there is not doubt that Ookisa LLC is indeed marketing this to hair loss sufferers.

The ingredients in this serum are:

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Polysorbate 20, Niacinamide, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotinoyl Tripeptide-1, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pyridoxine HCl, Apigenin, Linolenic Acid, Oleanolic Acid, Acetamide MEA, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Panthenol, Allantoin, Hyaluronic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Sorbitol, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl, Silanetriol, Phytantriol, Sodium PCA, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Maltodextrin, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf/Stalk Extract, Hexylene Glycol, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Sulfur, Hexyl Nicotinate, Vanillyl Butyl Ether, Sodium Phytate, Paeonia Albiflora Flower Extract, Sodium Starch Octenylsuccinate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Butylene Glycol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Silica, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol, Fragrance (Parfum)

There is nothing in that very long list of ingredients that has been FDA approved to regrow or stop the progression of hair loss. But lets put that aside, the claims of “preventing thinning, loss and splitting” that is.

The majority of the complaints that have been filed online through various websites and forums seem to all truly focus around one thing, the business practices of Ookisa, LLC. Many individuals who have signed up for their free trial, only later to have their credit card charged, have felt the terms and conditions of the “free trial” where not really clear and apparent at the time of sign up. As of today the terms and conditions do in fact appear on the company website free trial sign up page, but it appears in very small gray text toward the bottom left of the screen. Something that could easily be missed by most. It reads:

“Your FREE Trial of OOKISA™ includes a full 60-day supply for just $6.95 in shipping and processing. You will have 30 days to try OOKISA and discover why it is the perfect hair care system for you. If you like how this system makes you look younger with more youthful looking hair, do nothing – at the end of your free-trial period you will be billed the discounted price of $99.95.”

Also it states “Plus, if you decide to keep OOKISA, you will receive a fresh supply of OOKISA approximately every 60 days at the same low price of $99.95. You can cancel anytime

In my opinion, the term “trial” is a bit misleading. True, if you return it before the 30 days, you will not be charged, but most individuals are not thinking that way. Many consumers see the words “FREE” and “TRIAL” and they believe what they are ordering is theirs to keep without any further intervention on their part. They aren’t usually thinking they have to return their “free trial” to avoid charges.  In my opinion,  it really seems to be more of a purchase with auto renewal, and with that they are providing a 30 day money back gurantee. Or it is like some sort of delayed payment system, similar to “Order today and you won’t be charged for 30 days.”
In addition if you read the above terms and conditions, you actually will continue to be billed $99.95 every 60 days as more product is shipped, that is automatic unless you cancel.

This type of lack of clarity has left Ookisa LLC with quite a large number of complaints being filed online and through the Better Business Bureau. Sixty nine complaints to be exact, has currently be filed through the BBB. Fifty eight of those complaints where towards “Making a full refund, as the consumer requested” and eleven were for “Agreeing to perform according to their contract”

The product is also sold through Amazon.com through the storefront “happpybuying.” The product has 4 reviews on that page offering the “OOKISA Nighttime Follicle Renewing Serum”

The titles for the product reviews are:
Ookisa’s deceptive practices
Stay away from this product – they rip off your credit card
Rip off Company
Buyer Beware

The Women’s Hair Loss Project wrote an article on Ookisa in March 2009, since that time 49 comments have been left by readers. The comments are mixed, varying from those who seem to have liked one or more of the products to those that have felt completely ripped off.

One of the commenters named “Noreen” wrote:

Hello Ladies, I fell for their add for a “free” sample….Ookisa is a rip off as far as their tactics to sell their product. You get a “free” sample my butt…you get to try the product for 30 days and if u do not send back unused portion they bill you $100 for the free sample plus every 2 months you get billed another $100 and get more product that you never even ordered. I am now into this for $200 and I have no new hair growth. they will get the unused portion back this time. But I was already charged $200 does any of this seem fair???

There are other comments from women who do seem to be pleased with the product, namely the “Instant Volumizing Souffle” and some that while pleased with the product, still disagree with the business practices of this company. Then there are those that flat out thought it was a complete waste of time all around.

While I have never actually used this product, nor attempted to sign up for their free trial, I do have strong grasp and understanding of what has been proven to actually work to stop the progression of hair loss and to actually have the ability to regrow hair in both men and women. In my opinion this product does not fit the bill in that department.  It would probably greatly assist their buisness and online reputation if they would cease to continue to tout the products’ ability to prevent thinning and loss and to be more upfront about their “Free Trial.” Before consumers complete the sign up, there really should be something in bold text, something very clear and visible that lets them know that they will be charged if the product (they do accept empty bottles) is not returned in 30 days, and further more, that they will continue to be billed for $99.95 every 60 days after that if they don’t cancel.

So is Ookisa a “Scam”or a “Misunderstanding”? Well I guess depending on which consumer you ask, it could be either or both.  There are many documented complaints from consumers online where the indiviual(s) clearly seem to express feelings of being cheated and defrauded,  and that does seem to be the definition of a “scam.” I certainly don’t agree with their claims that their product can prevent thinning and loss, and at the very least I do think this company has very questionable business practices. Perhaps some responsibility does fall on consumers to be more diligent in reading every tiny thing in print before signing up for anything that asks for your credit card, and when in doubt call the company to clarify further.

So here is my message to Ookisa:
Be “more” upfront with consumers, go that extra mile to make sure everyone understands what they are agreeing to when they sign up for your free trial. If the product is good and it helps to “increase volume,” then I think people will buy it based on those merits alone. After all, looking like we have thicker hair is half the battle.

Discuss this topic on the American Hair Loss Association forum.

Comments on this entry are closed.