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National consumer warning on Chicago business that buys, resells diabetic strips

A Chicago company that buys and resells diabetic testing strips is the subject of a rare second national warning from the Better Business Bureau, which says the company hasn’t addressed a growing pile of consumer complaints.

The alert targets Surplus Diabetic Supplies LLC, which operates as CashNowOffer.com and has a mailing address on the Northwest Side.

Consumers in 46 states have lodged 447 complaints against CashNowOffer with the Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois, which has given the company its lowest rating — “F.”

In September, the Chicago Sun-Times reported consumers were complaining CashNowOffer didn’t pay as promised for their testing strips and that they couldn’t get answers when they complained.

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• In hazy market for reselling diabetic test strips, Chicago company is under fire, Sept. 12, 2018

The company’s Jonathan Avila told the Sun-Times then he was “working to get those complaints resolved.”

The Illinois attorney general’s office confirmed late Tuesday that it is investigating complaints against the company.

The BBB says it communicated with the business in January, March, September and October and each time CashNowOffer promised to take care of the complaints, which company officials said originated under former owners.

But in the BBB’s warning Wednesday, it said: “To date, the business has addressed a small number of consumer complaints, but they have failed to remain consistent in alleviating the pattern of consumer complaints or fully modify the ads they promised to address.”

“BBB continues to receive formal complaints, calls, emails and ‘Scam Tracker’ reports about the business.”

Steve Bernas, president of the Chicago BBB, said it’s unusual for a company to be the subject of a second national warning, but, “in this instance, it was deemed necessary.”

The private agency, which promotes ethical business practices, says most people who filed complaints said they weren’t paid and couldn’t get information from the company. Some said they were paid but the checks bounced.

Consumers in California, Ohio, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania have filed the most complaints. Illinois ranks No. 11.

Thirty million diabetics in the United States use about $4 billion in testing strips each year to monitor their blood-sugar. Some use up to 12 strips a day.

That volume has given rise to a booming market for resellers who advertise online, on social media, even on roadside signs, offering cash for unused strips. A box of 50 strips that might cost $99 at a pharmacy is purchased, say, for $15 from a patient and resold for $35 — still a steep discount from the drugstore price.

It’s legal to resell unexpired strips, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration unless patients fraudulently obtained them through Medicare or Medicaid just to sell them.

But the FDA and the American Diabetes Association warn that resold strips can be unsafe, that they could have been stored at improper temperatures, tampered with or replaced with counterfeits.

Surplus Diabetic Supplies LLC, a Chicago company that operates as CashNowOffer.com, buys surplus diabetic testing strips from patients at a cut rate and resells them to others. The company is the subject of 447 complaints to the Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois.

Surplus Diabetic Supplies LLC, a Chicago company that operates as CashNowOffer.com, buys surplus diabetic testing strips from patients at a cut rate and resells them to others. The company is now the subject of 447 complaints to the Better Business Bureau of Chicago & Northern Illinois. | CashNowOffer website