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Keeping the losses only to waistlines

Pure Weight Loss customers should call A.G. if firm owes them.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office is urging customers of Pure Weight Loss Inc., a Horsham-based diet company, to file complaints quickly with the state if the company owes them money or products.

"If you paid for a product or service and you do not have it in your hand, I'd file a complaint right now," Nils Frederiksen, deputy press secretary for the attorney general, said yesterday.

Pure Weight Loss, which was spun off from LA Weight Loss Centers Inc., sells diet counseling and special food in centers nationwide. Pure Weight Loss abruptly announced that it would close Jan. 4, but it has provided little information about what comes next.

A toll-free customer-service number was answered yesterday by an automated line. It gave an e-mail address, then disconnected. The automated directory at the company's headquarters failed to find chairman and chief executive officer Vahan Karian. The company's attorney and human resources director did not return calls.

An outside spokeswoman reached yesterday said she had no new information, including how many employees the company had. An earlier statement from the company listed the customer-service number - 1-877-524-3571 - and told customers to come to their centers by Jan. 4 to pick up products they had bought.

Centers are operating on greatly reduced schedules.

One woman said she waited with a dozen others outside an Exton center for an hour when the center was supposed to be open. No employee came. She said she paid Pure about $1,200 six months ago for a year's worth of food and counseling.

Customers typically pay up front for a year or more of services, based on how much weight they want to lose. That, plus protein bars, can add up.

Ruth Moton, a former regional manager for the company who said she was told earlier this month that her job was being cut, said most customers paid $800 to $1,500 up front.

Moton said she was transferred to Chicago for the company recently, then told to come back.

Frederiksen said his office had received only a handful of complaints from Pure customers. He said customers should be "proactive" and contact his office quickly. "Personally, if it were me at this point," he said, "I wouldn't take anybody's word for anything."

Customers who have automatic payment plans should contact their bank or credit card company to have them stopped, he said.

Pennsylvania residents can file a complaint by calling 1-877-888-4877 or going to "health care complaints" at


. Customers from other states can call 1-717-705-6938 and should also call the Attorney General's Office in their home state, Frederiksen said.