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: Experts: Chopin's heart shows signs of TB

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

The argument in favor of doping

6 hours ago

Ahead of Friday's court ruling on whether ASADA's investigation into the Essendon Football Club was lawful, world leader in practical and medical ethics Professor Julian Savulescu, looks at whether there is a role for performance-enhancing ...

Errata frequently seen in medical literature

Sep 16, 2014

(HealthDay)—Errata, including those that may materially change the interpretation of data, are frequent in medical publications, according to a study published in the August issue of The American Journal of ...

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 :)