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Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Based in Phoenix, Hit With $1.3 Million in Penalties and Restitution

A Phoenix-based company that sells "health supplements" has been ordered to pay $1 million in penalties for jerking around customers who tried to get refunds. Central Coast Nutraceuticals, owned by Graham Gibson of Phoenix, also must pay $375,000 in restitution and legal fees, says the Arizona Attorney General's office. According to the office, Gibson's company had an online form that automatically charged customers for items they hadn't ordered. When customers wanted to complain or ask to get their money back, some were left on hold for more than hour -- the ones that didn't hang up in frustration, that is. E-mails went unanswered.

Gibson runs his scam from an office at 2375 East Camelback Road, on the fifth floor, in Phoenix. The Internet is full of tales by pissed-off folks who have dealt with Gibson's "customer service" team.

It's sort of pathetic he was allowed to get away with this for so long -- especially when his corporation application is still pending. There oughta be an express line for consent decrees against companies like these.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.