MIAMI – Miami-based company Aroma 360 markets its products as luxury scenting for the home. It’s endorsed by celebrities like Marla Maples and Daymond John, of Shark Tank, who are featured in promotional videos.
“My tips are usually about business, but this tip is about how to create that wow factor in your home,” John says in one video.
The company sells fragrance oils and machine diffusers advertised on their website for as much as $1,500. But customers who reached out to Local 10 said they got way more than they signed up for.
“I feel like I was lied to,” said customer Mollie Mielczarski. “That they did not, you know, give me all the information.”
She is one of several customers who claimed they were misled. She told Local 10 she had bought a product previously from Aroma 360. Afterward, a representative for the company cold-called her with an offer to join their “VIP Program.”
Mielczarski said the rep offered her a free diffuser if she signed up for a monthly oil subscription.
“I asked multiple times if this was going to affect (my) credit in any way, and they told me ‘no,’” Mielczarski said.
In fact, she had filled out a credit application, unknowingly financing her purchase through a third-party biller, United Account Services for a total of nearly $4,000, plus 9.9% yearly interest.
“After I, you know, received my first statement, I realized there was, you know, $17,000 of credit line,” she said. “That’s ridiculous.”
Customer Danielle Valerioti says the financing plan caught her off guard as well, and she found it difficult to get a breakdown of exactly what she had purchased when she reached out to the third-party billing company.
“When I call them, they said ‘No, we only have one contract for you and it’s $15,000,’” Valerioti said.
She said she is being billed for more than she agreed to when she bought two diffusers after a sales rep signed her up for a two-year subscription.
“She said, ‘Scroll down to the next page. Initial. Scroll down to the next page,’ without reviewing each page. There’s no breakdown of the money,” Valerioti said.
Several people who spoke with Local 10 said they never got a chance to read the document, which was sent to them electronically. They claim salespeople for Aroma 360, which also does business as Hotel Collection, kept them on the phone and rushed them to scroll down and sign.
Customers claimed no one told them they were signing up for a line of credit and once they learned that, they say it was nearly impossible to get anyone from Aroma 360 to take their calls or respond to emails.
“It’s the Fyre Festival of aroma products, right?” said Jeramie Lu, a photographer from Nevada who also had issues with the company.
“As soon as they sell it to you, they’re ghosting you, they’re gone,” said Lu.
He turned to YouTube to vent after he says for months the company stopped answering his calls and emails, even blocking his number when he had a documented issue with the product and needed to return it and cancel his plan past the 14-day grace period.
“When I got a hold of them at the beginning, they said, ‘Yep, we’ll send you a return label.’ They sent me a return label. I sent it in,” he explained.
After mailing the products back, Lu said he got a voicemail from a company representative named Romeo.
“I’m calling you from Aroma 360,” it said. “I do see here that your account was not accepted for cancellation so we will have to leave the account open.”
Lu said it was ultimately UAS, the third-party billing company which agreed to close his account.
He’s not alone -- the Office for Florida’s Attorney General is currently reviewing six complaints from other customers who said they too were deceived. There’s even a Facebook page -- “Done dirty by Aroma 360″ -- for consumer complaints. One read in part: “Still in collections…No machine, no oils…But still in collections.”
When Local 10 first reached out to Aroma 360, a representative for the company said they would be willing to do an interview. But after weeks of nobody returning calls, Local 10 went to ask questions in person at the company’s store and offices in Wynwood.
When asked if the company would like to talk about the customer complaints, president Rachel Tannenholz replied, “Not at all…Have a nice day.”
Meanwhile, customers like Valerioti said they are still trying to determine exactly what they are paying for. She said when her two-year plan was up, the bills kept coming.
“I stopped my credit card payments, and now they’re sending us late fees. And we don’t want our credit to get ruined,” she said.
Local 10 also reached out to representatives for both Marla Maples and Daymond John to get their responses to these complaints regarding Aroma 360. At this time, they have not replied.