US cracks down on acai berry sellers

Apr 19, 2011
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) building is seen in Washington, DC. The US Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday announced a crackdown on websites that sell acai berry weight loss products using fake endorsements from news sites such as CNN, Fox News and USA Today.

US regulators on Tuesday announced a crackdown on websites that sell acai berry weight loss products using fake endorsements from news sites such as CNN, Fox News and USA Today.

The US said it had asked federal courts to freeze the assets of 10 operations using "allegedly deceptive" tactics such as fake news websites to market their products.

The websites are designed to appear as if they are testimonials from legitimate newsgathering organizations.

"But in reality the sites are simply advertisements aimed at deceptively enticing consumers to buy the featured acai berry products," the FTC said.

"Almost everything about these sites is fake," David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.

"The weight loss results, the so-called investigations, the reporters, the consumer testimonials, and the attempt to portray an objective, journalistic endeavor," Vladeck said.

The sites often misleadingly include the names and logos of media outlets such as ABC, Fox News, CBS, CNN, USA Today, and Consumer Reports.

A photograph of photogenic French television presenter Melissa Theuriau is also frequently used to illustrate the sites although she has no affiliation with any of them.

The FTC said it has received numerous complaints from consumers who spent up to $100 for weight loss products after having been deceived by the sites.

It said it will ask the courts to force the the companies to provide refunds to consumers who purchased the supplements and other products.

The FTC said the defendants have likely received more than $10 million in ill-gotten commissions through the sites.

Explore further: 'Ice Bucket Challenge' passes $100 mn mark

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FTC sues Arizona company over acai pill free trials

Aug 16, 2010

(AP) -- The Federal Trade Commission says an Arizona company defrauded consumers who signed up for free trials of acai (ah-sah-EE') berry weight-loss pills and colon cleansing supplements.

FTC, diet pill marketers settle for $25M

Jan 05, 2007

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission recovered $25 million as a settlement in its cases alleging deceptive advertising against marketers of four diet pills.

Recommended for you

Cold cash just keeps washing in from ALS challenge

Aug 28, 2014

In the couple of hours it took an official from the ALS Association to return a reporter's call for comment, the group's ubiquitous "ice bucket challenge" had brought in a few million more dollars.

Medtronic spends $350M on another European deal

Aug 27, 2014

U.S. medical device maker Medtronic is building stronger ties to Europe, a couple months after announcing a $42.9 billion acquisition that involves moving its main executive offices across the Atlantic, where it can get a ...

Mind over matter for people with disabilities

Aug 26, 2014

People with serious physical disabilities are unable to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted despite having the will – and the brainpower – to do so. This is changing thanks to European ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

neiorah
not rated yet Apr 20, 2011
Ha Ha on you :)