Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why Do Fraudsters Think They Can Get Away With It: Part 2 the juice vendor

It was only yesterday 15-JUL-2014 when FTC announced a major settlement with Trivita for Trivita's false and unsubstantiated claims regarding their "Nopalea" drink made from Nopales cactus, yet another superfruit fad (remember noni, magosteen, and acai berry?)  Trivita, without admitting fault, agrees to cough up 3.5 million refund for not having enough science to back up their claims, and not disclosing many of the testimonials in their ads are actually from affiliates (who have financial interest in seeing the product succeed).

But here's the saddest part... Trivita was warned back in 2011 regarding the SAME PROBLEMS, and apparently chose to IGNORE THE WARNING!

They think they can get away with it, and they almost did... until the FTC slapped them.

Read on for details.

Digging through Goggle revealed this little gem from ERSP, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program, that Trivita was warned about EVERY ONE of the problems they got fined by FTC for, back in 2011!

Quoting from the press release dated November 2011:
As support for performance and establishment claims, TriVita submitted a number of scientific studies on Nopalea’s main ingredient, Opuntia ficus indica (Nopal cactus). 
While ERSP did not dispute that the studies provided useful information about the primary ingredient in Nopalea, the evidence did not support express claims regarding specific health conditions. ERSP recommended the marketer modify or discontinue the performance claims at issue. 
ERSP noted that there have been no clinical studies on the product and the evidence provided does not support claims that Nopalea will alleviate or eliminate specific health conditions. ERSP recommended the marketer discontinue testimonials describing specific health conditions. Further,  ERSP recommended that TriVita add a clear and conspicuous disclosure describing the relationship between TriVita and its “members.” 
The fact that the some of the consumer testimonials are made by people who receive commission on the sale of the product might materially affect the weight and credibility of the representation as interpreted by consumers and, as such, should be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the advertising,” ERSP stated.
These are the EXACT items that FTC fined them for. The conclusion is clear: they were told about the problems, and chose to do NOTHING, for YEARS.

They thought they can get away with it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment