Don’t fall for the crack berry.
The Federal Trade Commission is asking federal judges in six states to shut down 10 “fake news websites” run by third-party Internet marketers of acai berry weight loss pills.
Replete with established news logos and official-sounding names such as “News 6 News Alerts,” the sites tout independent investigations of “miracle” acai berry supplements, claiming that they cause major weight loss in a short period of time with no diet or exercise.
“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 endeavour.”
A newly instituted consumer alert cautions potential buyers, “As a rule, legitimate news organisations do not endorse products.”
The FTC is also asking that the companies provide refunds to consumers who purchased the supplements and related products.
This isn’t the first time the berry marketers have gotten tangled in legal proceedings. In 2009, Oprah and Dr. Oz, who had featured the acai berry on a show, filed a lawsuit against companies that falsely boasted their endorsements.