ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Health and wealth are the pillars of Hironari Oshiro’s philosophy.
Oshiro founded Enagic International, a Kangen-branded water filtration and alkaline-ionizer distribution company. The company’s website claims its systems transform regular tap water into pure, healthy, electrolytically-reduced and hydrogen-rich drinking water.
Cole Reynolds was a believer. Living in St. Charles at the time, he says he was introduced to Enagic by a friend. Cole attended a product demonstration at a now-shuttered St. Peters storefront. He proceeded to finance nearly $8,500 for an anti-oxidizer machines and a “home spa system” for the shower.
Cole says Enagic representatives convinced him he wasn’t just buying a product, he’d be able to sell them as well.
“It would be a free machine because you could sell a couple of these and they’ll pay it off with the money you’d get off commission,” Reynolds said.
Enagic’s website clearly shows it operates as a direct sales system. In fact, the products Cole received come with instructional DVDs he showed us, detailing how the business plan works.
“Unfortunately, most multi-level marketing distributors don’t earn a substantial income, let alone a lavish lifestyle and financial freedom,” said Laura Smith, legal director at the non-profit consumer advocacy organization TruthinAdvertising.org.
In 2017, the company investigated Enagic as part of a larger probe into the Direct Selling Association. The findings showed 97 percent of DSA’s member companies were making false and unsubstantiated income claims to promote business.
“The particular company you’ve been looking into, we had about 20 examples of these kind of exaggerated income claims and all but one are still up today in 2019,” Smith said.
Had Cole Reynolds known then what he knows now, he says he definitely wouldn’t have bought the products. He says he still owes close to $5,000 on the two unused devices he bought. He wants out.
“I’m willing to give them pretty much free money just to take their stuff back,” he said.
The return policy on the Enagic website includes a clause that says the buyer must pay the full price for the product if it’s not returned within a month of delivery.
“I don’t want to kill my credit with this because I’ve got college payments to do,” Reynolds said.
Fox 2’s Mike Colombo reached out to an Enagic representative in Chicago and the man who ran the local shop where Cole attended the presentation.
The Chicago guy said they would not accept Cole’s return because the 30-day window had long passed. The local guy told Colombo he’d try to help and help he did. A week after Colombo first spoke him, he informed Colombo Enagic would offer Cole a full refund if the products are in the condition Cole says they are.
Contact 2 thanked him for his willingness to resolve this matter.
Contact 2 reminds you not to get swept up in what could be high-pressure pitches. Take time to research any company you’re considering doing business with thoroughly and make sure you fully understand its terms, conditions, and return policies.