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FTC: Dietary Supplement Manufacturer Suspected of Deliberately Deceiving Consumers

In continuing with a disturbing trend of deceptive health practices, yet another dietary drug manufacturer has been accused of perpetuating false claims to promote their product. According to a complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), officials are attempting to prohibit the future actions of a dietary supplement manufacturer who deliberately used fake news websites to promote their products. Subsequently, Boris Mizhen, LeanSpa LLC, and two other companies Mizhen controls made deceptive weight-loss claims, and told consumers they could receive free trials of acai berry and “colon cleanse” products on fabricated websites.

According to the complaint filed by the FTC, in association with the state of Connecticut, affiliated marketing websites were established by the defendants to promote their products. The fake news websites were specifically engineered to deceive consumers and promote a false feeling of authenticity. Subsequently, the fabricated pages exhibited the qualities that consumers typically look for in objective health and news websites. The sites in question deliberately displayed the logos of several established news organizations such as CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News to promote a false sense of authenticity.

The sites exhibited a propensity for false and misleading propaganda so that consumers may feel safe in making transactions. Fake reporters claimed to have tried the products in question with miraculous results. Products such as LeanSpa, NutraSlim, and SlimFuel were praised for their ability to assist in weight loss without a special diet or exercise. Found on each of the news sites were links to the defendant’s own page, where consumers were offered trial samples of two weight-loss dietary supplements: an acai-berry product and a colon cleanse product.

The FTC complaint acknowledges that the sites offered trial samples of the acai berry or colon cleanse product in return for a relatively small shipping and handling fee of $4.95 or less. However, after gaining the appropriate credit card information, the sites would charge unsuspecting consumers either $79.99 for one of the products, or $158.98 for both.

The defendants’ allegedly deceptive practices also included a $79.99 fee for products before the trial period had officially ended. Accordingly, they violated their 100% satisfaction guarantee by failing to provide refunds to those who were dissatisfied with the products that they had received. Fraudulent practices such s these are in direct violation of Sections 5 and 12 of the FTC Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation E, and the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. Officials at the FTC believe that the majority of the victims ended up paying $79.99 for the trial, and for recurring monthly shipments of products that were hard to cancel. The defendants have allegedly taken in more than $25 million from consumers in the United States.

Following the recent FTC complaint, the parties have agreed to temporarily halt the illegal practices preformed by the defendants. As a result, the manufacturers in question have had their assets frozen, appointed a temporary receiver, and given the FTC access to the business premises. Furthermore, the stipulated court order halts the defendants from marketing or selling “negative-option” continuity plans, from making unauthorized charges while selling any good or service, and from making certain deceptive claims. The agreement also forces the manufacturers to halt all collections on customer accounts until a final resolution has been presented by the court.

Do I Have a Dietary Supplement Lawsuit?

The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in dietary supplement lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of fraudulent dietary supplement manufacturing practices, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-800-773-0849.

Categories: Product Liability
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