The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are trying to clamp down on deceptive weight loss marketeers, but it is a real uphill struggle.
With so many companies and scams out there, the FTC have their work cut out to stem this growing tide. The latest target in their sights has been a big one. Recently the FTC decided that an affiliate marketing site called LeadClick Media and its parent company, a News corporation called CoreLogic.Inc needed to return $16 million to consumers following deceptive practices.
LeadClick Media were managing a company called LeanSpa which sold colon cleanse and Acai berry products. Although it looked reputable and convincing it was in fact a free trial scam that only worked by signing customers up to a hard to cancel auto ship programme.
This is a classic weight loss scam territory and it left many customers $79.99 a month out of pocket. What made this particular case so bad was that customers were lured to the site via fake news websites, operated by Core Logic. Inc.
These fake sites carried articles and news stories designed to make consumers believe that the products were reputable. They appeared to be vouched for by independent news outlets and by the many so called genuine customer testimonials that were present on the LeanSpa site and left by fake customers on so called independent websites.
We tend to believe the news and genuine feedback so this led customers into believing that the products were genuine.
This sophisticated scam lead to thousands of consumers being tricked into thinking they were signing up for a free trial as advertised by so called “reputable “ news articles.
Consumers did not understand that they were being misled by paid advertisers operating under an umbrella of affiliate marketing.
The FTC and State of Connecticut started a lawsuit in 2011, which saw the LeanSpa CEO Boris Mihzen being sued, for deceptive marketing practice.
In January 2014, the suit was settled after Mihzen and LeanSpa agreed to stop trading and surrender company assets in order to pay back misled customers.
The district court ruled that Lead Click and the fake news sites operated by parent company Core Logic.Inc deceived customers by using real news organisation names and logos to promote these products. They were also guilty of submitting fake reviews from invented customers.
The court has now ruled that LeadClick must give up the $12 million it received from LeanSpa in payment for its marketing services and that CoreLogic.Inc must repay the 44 million it received from LeadClick as payment for disseminating the false news stories.
When you see the budgets and the organisation behind some of these marketing schemes, it only goes to show how lucrative a diet pill scam can be.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.