The FTC has obtained a $3 million dollar settlement with sellers who allegedly violated federal law by making questionable weight-loss and fat-loss claims for skin gels and diet supplements. The settlement bars the marketers from making unsubstantiated claims in the future and from misrepresenting studies or endorsements.This is not the first time the company(s) have come under scrutiny by government agencies. Action has been taken by them in the past by the FTC for make unsubstantiated claims against their supplement line.
On June 15, 2004, the Commission filed the Complaint in this matter, alleging, inter alia,Dr. Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch comments:
that Basic Research LLC and other related individuals and companies (collectively, "Respondents") marketed numerous dietary supplements with unsubstantiated claims for fat loss and/or weight loss, and falsely represented that some of these products were clinically proven to be effective, in violation of Sections 5(a) and 12 of the Federal Trade Commission Act ("FTC Act"), 15 U.S.C. §§ 45(a) and (52). The facts pertinent to this Motion for Summary Decision are set forth in the attached Statement of Material Facts as to which There is No Genuine Dispute. Source
The case is especially significant because Friedlander is one of the most egregious mail-order health scammers of all time. During the early 1980s, doing business as the Robertson-Taylor Company and at least six other companies, he took in tens of millions of dollars for fraudulent weight-loss aids, hair restorers, sexual stimulants, impotence cures, arthritis remedies, and other vitamin products. [Shearing the suckers. Consumer Reports Feb 1986, pp 87-92] The U.S. Postal service ended these promotions with a series of cease-and-desist orders. http://www.casewatch.org/usps/rt.shtmlUnfortunately, this action is merely a settlement on the part of the company and doesn't mean that they admit to have violated any laws, so their fraudulent advertisements will still be shown on TV and all the other mediums that were used previously. This is extremely common with companies who promote bogus health care and supplement products and does not seem to hinder them in the slightest way. I believe that the television stations who air these ads should take a stand on their own and stop allowing blatantlytently fraudulent ads to be displayed on their channels. Laws should be enacted that allow agencies like the FTC to pursue action against the parties that display these ads as well as for the ads themselves. In situations such as this, it is hard to boycott such companies such as television networks, who determine ratings based on only a certain category of people (i.e.: people who have Nielsen boxes installed in their homes). Perhaps a petition of some kind should be created or letters written to legislative representatives to help further this cause.
Major Weight-Loss Marketers Pay $3 Million