The Federal Trade Commission requested, and a federal judge granted, a temporary restraining order that prevents several makers of acai berry and colon cleansing products from further advertising their respective products in a false and misleading way.
The order directs Central Coast Pharmaceuticals, i.e. Life Health and Wellness, Simply Naturals, Fit for Life, Health and Beauty Solutions, and others, from using false celebrity endorsements, from maintaining that their products are available for a nominal fee and from otherwise advertising their products in any false or misleading manner. The order also froze the defendants’ assets and directed them to make full refunds to all consumers who make requests.
According to the FTC, the companies falsely promised “free” trials of products like AcaiPure for a small shipping fee, but instead enrolled consumers in a monthly membership with charges of up to $64.90 per month without their consent. They also used misleading ads that claimed celebrities like Oprah Winfrey endorsed their product.
The makers of AcaiPure, for example, made claims like: “WARNING! AcaiPure Is Fast Weight Loss That Works. It Was Not Created For Those People Who Only Want To Lose A Few Measly Pounds. AcaiPure was created to help you achieve the incredible body you have always wanted …USE WITH CAUTION! Major weight loss in short periods of time may occur.”
The makers of Colopure, a colon cleanse product, cited frightening statistics about colon cancer and promised consumers that its product would help them prevent the onset of the disease.
The FTC is seeking a permanent injunction against the defendants.
To read the FTC’s complaint, click here.
To read the TRO, click here.
Why it matters: The FTC noted that since 2007, the Better Business Bureau and law enforcement agencies received more than 2,800 complaints about the defendants. Marketers receiving complaints from consumers should closely consider their marketing practices before regulators do – especially if those complaints relate to free trials and negative options, which are currently under close scrutiny