Monday, February 2, 2009

Product Review: FRS--A Waste of Time and Money--If That's Not Bad Enough, There is a Scam to Boot!



Anyone who knows me well knows that I love mood altering substances, so much so that I have been forced to give most of them up due to overuse. With this history, I was more than a little hesitant to try FRS. Luckily, I came away from my sampling intact with a full bank account.

One of my teammates had ordered “free” samples of FRS. Samples from FRS are like the Time-Life book series subscriptions where you are free to cancel at any time, but you will automatically be billed and sent new installments until you jump through the considerable hoops to cancel it. My teammate has been having trouble cancelling the automatic billing and shipping with FRS's "customer service" and subsequently has found himself with a glut of the stuff. FRS’s dishonest and misleading sales practices are well documented on the internet. Here’s one example: http://hubpages.com/hub/FRS-Healthy-Energy-Complaint If you type "FRS scam" into a search engine, you can hear from some angry people. So do like Spaits and buy it at GNC if you are burning to try it.

I had the FRS drink mix for a week before I tried it out. I wanted to wait until I thought that I would benefit most before using my precious few samples. This last Saturday, I had a moderate 1.5 hour indoor workout planned. I was feeling sluggish and thought that the FRS may give me the needed boost to get through a workout that I was under-motivated for.

I mixed a batch of the orange flavored low calory blend according to the directions on the packet. The powder was very clumpy and difficult to stir into the water.





After stirring vigorously for longer than should be necessary I gave up and drank it down clumps and all. It tasted like orange Tang.

I didn’t notice an increase in energy. In fact the only discernible effect was a huge spike in my heart rate. While I was putting out base level power, my heart rate was 20-25 beats per minute higher than what it normally would be. I was just finishing a rest week and felt very good on the bike. In theory, and according to my data from past years, in a workout like this after a rest week, I should have been experiencing lowered heart rate, not higher.

I tried the FRS again in order to give it another shot at proving its worth. I used it before a 2 hour ride that included some tempo work. Again, I didn’t notice an increase in energy, only a higher than normal heart rate for a given power output.

While FRS also claims to be “healthy energy,” its ingredients list reads like a chemistry experiment. I won’t bore you with the details, but FRS will not be offered at Wholefoods any time soon. I am curious what FRS means when they claim to be “healthy.” Are they using “healthy” as a euphemism for “not immediately toxic?”


I don’t recommend FRS. It has none of the claimed benefits, it is not “healthy” as it is riddled with chemicals and their ordering process is misleading and predatory. If you simply must try it, contact me and I will be happy to hook you up with one of my spare packets. If I run out, I know a guy who is still stuck on “auto replenish” at $65 per month for more FRS than he can use.

22 comments:

rosey said...

these product reviews need to be substantiated with quantitative data. with the independent testing facility you now have (heart rate, powertap, power cranks), a valid data driven analysis will lend credibility to your reviews.

RMM said...

I refuse open myself up to public ridicule by posting paltry power meter readings up here.

Trust me that power was steady, and the heart rate was much higher than normal.

zack said...

And next week, look for "Cooking with Mike", 6pm on PBS.


I should take some of this caloric energy drink we have for the monkeys, it's called Prang. I'll mail to up to you and you can do a test piece. Best of all,it comes in a bunch of flavors and smells like coolaid!

RMM said...

Zack:
Are you aware that I was once in training to become a chef? Dinner tonight was wood grilled blue fish with parsley pesto, cornbread and steamed broccoli and snow peas.

But seriously, I will drink the monkey Kool Aid if it will make me fast. Will it?

rosey said...

you have a wood grill? there must be some secret power output benefit to this wood grill that you're not telling us about.

RMM said...

Actually, the busybody next door called the fire department on me for grilling the bluefish. The firemen said that me set up was very safe and expressed regret that I didn't have enough fish for them.

zack said...

Mike, you should start a meal delivery service for cyclists. Ready to eat healthy meals that fit within specific training plans.

Ha, I don't know if it will make you fast, only one way to find out, right?

Whoa, it actually contains a lot more electrolytes than Gatoraide: http://www.bio-serv.com/newcatalog/eeprod/primate/prang.html

Also, prang is apparently slang for cocaine in England.

RMM said...

Zack:
British slang for an illegal stimulant, it must make you fast!

We can probably mark it up by 200% and market it to cyclists as a super-drink. All we need to do it add a little caffeine...

Kerry said...

FWIW, I've used FRS since last September and I believe it works, though I wouldn't compare it to Monster or any other instant energy drink. IMO the quercetin contained in the drinks do combat fatique and aid my natural adrenaline reserves, but it doesn't provide the instand jolt that the high energy drinks do.

However, I can tell when I go out on a 30+ mile bike ride that it helps. I can maintain my pace longer and I have more in the tank during the last 5 miles than I used to. That's my $.02 worth.

RMM said...

Kerry:
But were you swindled by the company?

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RMM said...

Mike:

One of the things that has been repeated again and again about FRS is that they plant positive comments on blog entries that are critical of their predatory sales practices.

After viewing your "blog," I have concluded that you are a shill.

Mike, I feel bad for you. It makes me sad that you have sunk low enough in your life that you have to lie on the internet to help a company rip people off.

Mike said...

Just signed up for the free trial, will let you guys know if it works for me...

In regards to the free trial, it seems pretty clear to me when I signed up that it was a recurring deal, but it didn't mention the pricetag. You can change the "autoship" feature just by logging into your account, so their terrible customer service shouldn't even come into play... :)

It is pricey. If your friend still has a ton of this stuff laying around, I might be interested in getting it from him... :)

-Mike
September 2, 2009 10:11 PM

Mike said...

Part 1-

RMM,

Good rationale. Because I have a shitty blog with two entries from late 2008 tied to my google account, I must be working for FRS. Or... maybe I'm too lazy to update my blog?

Denying what you're saying will surely end in a flame war, so I won't bother with it. Instead...

I work for FRS! They pay me to lie on the internet! Also, go fuck your mom. Trust me, it's good.

Now, that we have that out of the way, let's approach this rationally.

I agree with you that their sales approach is pretty terrible. They have a popular douchebag for a sponsor, so they've been getting a decent amount of hype. They offer a free fourteen day trial that automatically subscribes you to a 70 dollar a month recurring order. They also apparently pay people to lie on the internet... which I haven't heard, but I can believe.

I don't know what the quality of the product is, nor the effectiveness. The reason I am trying the free trial is because they didn't have it at Kroger, and I don't frequent health food stores. I still haven't received the free trial, and I will report back my opinion after I do.

The reason I tried it in the first place is because my boss (the VP of Technology at my organization) said he has found it effective. Albeit he wears a yellow wristband and is easily taken in by marketing, so it may be entirely imaginary... but his accolades for it were pretty high. I figured it wouldn't hurt to do a free trial.

Now, as I said, the free trial system they have is pretty bad, but it isn't something that is entirely out of place in today's society. If you haven't learned to read the fine-print for free trial offers where you enter a credit card, then it's as much on you as it is on FRS.

Additionally, I wasn't entirely truthful in my last post. I didn't actually cancel my order on their website, I merely changed what I was having shipped to me (from 70 dollars worth of shit I didn't want to 19 bucks worth of shit I will want if this stuff is worthwhile)... However given the online account access states the following, I assumed it was correct...

"3. Your account is initially set to repeat your first order every 30 days but you can adjust the products in your next order, adjust the date of your next order (up to 180 days in the future), adjust the amount of time between orders (up to 180 days), track shipments, and cancel your account by either logging into your account on frs.com or calling 877-377-8471."

Now, with some further investigation thanks to your douchebaggery and presumptions, I've found that there is in fact no way to cancel online, just to change the order.

Mike said...

Part 2

With said realization, I called the number listed, and was connected to Shannon, a bubbly retention agent who sounded very personable. I asked her why the instructions on the site indicated that I could cancel online, and I couldn't. She was quick to respond with "There's a bug in the system that doesn't allow certain customers to cancel their accounts."

Now, that didn't make much sense to me. I work in IT, in a company that provides software-as-as-service, and I am rather familiar with the way web applications work... Plus they already have a bad reputation for predatory business practices. I ask her what the cancel functionality looks like, and where it would normally be. She responded as I expected, with "oh, it... uh... would be in the manage your account area...." and completely failed at convincing me that there was in fact ever a button of this type.

I then gave her my account information, and she said "oh, you haven't received your shipment yet? that's why you can't cancel... you can only cancel your account after you've RECEIVED your shipment!" She proceeded to tell me that she did not have the ability to cancel my account until such time. I pressed on this a little, and she was unrelenting, as they are no doubt trained to be. I thanked her for her time, and ended the call.

I will be calling back later this evening, if they are still open, to convince them to give me free stuff since they outright lied to me, and to cancel my account. I'll post how that goes.

Anyway, you fucking prick, I apologize for coming across as an undercover sales agent, and I apologize that my blog doesn't meet your requirements. I hope you're hit by a car while riding your bicycle, suffer irreparable spine injuries, and spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Also, die in a fire.

Hugs and kisses,
Mike

Mike said...

Let me know if your candy ass still thinks I get paid to lie on the internet. Fuckhole.

RMM said...

Mike:

While you have cleared up your non-association with FRS, I still feel sorry for you.

I am sorry that your life is so empty that you feel compelled to spend your free time calling people filthy names on the internet with little provocation.

While I no longer believe that you are in the pay of FRS, I question your motives for commenting here. Why are you so angry and disgruntled? Surely my little comment couldn't have stirred up all this angst?

Also, thanks for corraborating my story about FRS's practices. While on one hand I hope that you get out of your automatic shipments, on the other I hope that you don't and that you harness your anger and direct it at the correct target: FRS.

Mike, calm down. That kind of anger just isn't healthy.

Mike said...

RMM,

Wasn't angry. Just figured that heinous insults coupled with the follow-up would help drive home that I wasn't working with/for FRS. Looks like that mission was accomplished.

I called back as I said, and the second rep I connected to, Jason, canceled my account immediately. He also remarked how some problem with the site had led them to remove the cancel button, which took their call volume from 450 to 900 calls a day, between the 5 of them.

Two observations:

If those numbers are to be believed, a ton of callers are attempting to cancel daily.

In an eight hour day, with no breaks or lunches, the average call time would be 00:02:40.

When I inquired as to why he was able to immediately cancel my account but Shannon said it wasn't even POSSIBLE, he said it was because he was a floor manager. Uh-huh.

Anyway, I'll let you guys know my results with FRS when it gets here.

Thanks!
-Mike

RMM said...

Mike:

If you do some research on the internet, you will find that many others have the same story that you have. "Website broken, retention people unable to cancel an account until items ship"

If the pattern repeats, you will find that you are not done with this. The floor manager said he canceled your account. Other consumers were told the same thing, only to find that FRS continued to bill their credit cards for months.

Slappo Nockerelli said...

actually, I thought the insults and cursing were creative and very entertaining : ) also makes you seem real (I would conjecture that most readers wanted to say that for you) : ) and I love that you are not afraid to call it how you see fit - too many pussies out there who are too PC - becomes tiring after a while.

Also, thank you for posting your experience with this company. Very beneficial. I was considering FRS for endurance.

Dr. Randal Mandos said...

Wow, what a fucktard thread. I use the stuff and it works for me quite well. I perceive a boost in energy (and actually a decrease in appetite) for several hours, all with very minimal side effects (high blood pressure, jitters, explosive urination). No, this hasn't been verified by scientific methods, though I'm working on it and I'll write in as soon as the data is available. As for the "scam," well I seemed to have been able to purchase this shit without getting fleeced. Now fuck off.

Joseph said...

I've tried FRS for quite some time and haven't noticed any difference. In attempting to cancel, I have been unable to reach a live person on the phone. I sent an email to their customer service address, and informed them that if my account was not canceled that I would file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

It appears they have already received 126 complaints. I highly recommend anyone having trouble with this company to file a complaint, as it will motivate them to clean up their business practices.

Here is the pertinent page for FRS Energy on the Better Business Bureau Website:

http://www.la.bbb.org/Business-Report/The-FRS-Company-100059508