Bio-scammers on a false mission to “profoundly impact and improve lives”
First reported by CNBC in a September 14 article, a “privately held company” named Trusii International has been making rounds on the web for being a ‘scam', loaning out home fountains for $6,700 per piece. What's interesting about the whole debacle is the manner of the loan: representatives of Trusii offered participants a cost-free service if they enrolled in a three-year research about the company’s key product—hydrogen water.
Gain or pain? Trusii got a lot of explaining to do. Image: Trusii International
Based in southern Florida, Trusii is a primary proponent of the hydrogen water “revolution.” According to the company’s website, their ultra-expensive water device, the (hold your breath!) H2EliteX System, among others, offer “access to the most powerful and therapeutic antioxidant-rich water on earth.” And they proved their modern marketing prowess by propping up influencers like Anthony DiClementy and capitalizing on the hydrogen water trend started by Hollywood A-listers like Ryan Reynolds, Zac Efron, and Blake Lively.
Their stints didn’t end there. Earlier this year, the company-in-question bought a booth at the Bulletproof Conference, a biohacking event hosted by self-optimization advocate Dave Asprey. Of course, Trusii made its presence in social media well-known, with thousands of promotional posts under the almost cringy hashtag #TrusiiLife.
All seemed well for the burgeoning biohacking-influenced start-up from Florida until CNBC (the primary source of this news info) received complaints addressed to Trusii, coming from more than a dozen customers saying the whole thing is a scam.
“They’re taking advantage of people who are sick”
One of the complaining customers, Margaux Gunning, told CNBC her account about the “scam” she was roped into by Trusii International. She's a 27-year-old nutritionist and yoga instructor from San Diego. In 2018, she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, an infection caused by a bacterium transmitted through a tick bite. Gunning thought hydrogen water could help with her condition, so she decided to try Trusii.
A representative from Trusii told Gunning she was accepted into the company’s three-year program—an initiative to revolutionize water quality through the exploitation of molecular hydrogen. Consequently, Gunning thought she could be a part of something that might impact the wellness of her future sons and daughters.
But there’s a catch—a dead giveaway that screams “scam!” in the most frustrating way possible. Participants of the said program have to take out a whopping $10,000 loan from one of Trusii’s financial partners, like GreenSky or LendingPoint, to pay for the machine. Trusii would then pay back the loan for about $275 a month for 36 months in exchange for filling out questionnaires or posting positive reviews on social media. To make it short, she'll pay nothing for the system if she sticks with the program for three years.
And so things went awry. After receiving the product last April, Gunning knew it was broken right out of the box. The dosage button was defective and a hose that was needed to link the H2EliteX to her water source wasn’t included in the package.
She immediately called Trusii, but the company's response was vague. She had no idea about how or when her fountain would be fixed, or, in another way around if she could at least get her reimbursement checks. They simply ignored her.
“They’re taking advantage of people who are sick, who are so broke from trying to help themselves,” Gunning said in frustration in an interview.
She’s still in troublesome debt and her loan’s principal amount is growing in interest, all while struggling to keep up with her treatment for Lyme disease. Gunning filed a sworn statement to GreenSky about her case and is in ongoing discussions with them. About Trusii, well, she still sends messages, makes missed calls, and emails them for countless of times in multiple channels. She's desperate to get out of a situation she thought would give her a much-needed boost.
“How to save yourself from Trusii”
Margaux Gunning is only one from more than 300 reported cases of fraudulent activities conducted by Trusii International. These customers have joined a private Facebook group called “How to save yourself from Trusii” since then, discussing tips to get their loans waived and share experiences they’ve had with the dubious company.
For the record, several customers told CNBC that they got paid for a month or two before the checks stopped from getting issued. What's even fishier is the fact that these individuals said they agreed to terms in writing but never signed a legal contract.
LESSON: beware of vague agreements. Never get yourself into a transaction without putting the agreements in black and white.
The truth behind hydrogen water
To get a better insight as to what hydrogen water is, let’s compare it with regular water. Regular H2O has a low concentration of hydrogen that is proportional to the amount of hydrogen in the atmosphere. Hydrogen water is simply water with added molecular hydrogen, which is described as an odorless, tasteless gas.
And to be fair, hydrogen water, let alone the machines that produce this kind of water, doesn't come cheap. It's $3 per 11-ounce containers or about $500 and up for a gallon.
Is it good for you? Well, Trusii, for one, claims that it has powerful antioxidants, can boost energy, helps you recover from a workout, decreases inflammation rate, and slows down the aging process. Most of the studies supporting these benefits, however, were conducted in a controlled environment (i.e. laboratories). This makes it difficult to validate these claims, thus requiring more research to provide scientific evidence supporting the therapeutic properties of molecular hydrogen in water or its benefits over plain tap water.
Water filters: nothing more, nothing less
Gunning, who still suffers from Trusii’s water scam, demands for justice and proper compensation. At least, she doesn’t wish for moms who diligently raise their kids to experience the same; after all, she was lured in by the bait of healthier water.
CWR Enviro’s water filtration systems wouldn’t dare to imply highfalutin terms for the sake of getting sold. Our quality filters do not claim revolutionary technologies at a molecular level; instead, they’re simply the best in what they do. Home filtration systems are designed to protect you from most contaminants present in your tap water—nothing more, nothing less.
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