FTC – Big Crack Down on Free Trial Diet Offers

All the people pushing free trial diet offers like acai berries and hoodia, better read up on this and then check your offers for compliance.

The FTC has been hitting diet marketers with multi million dollar judgements.

We all know why some of those free trial diet offers pay so high. The companies bank on the fact the consumer is going to be duped into paying the continuity payments, at least for awhile. Few are upfront with the consumer disclosure about the real terms, many are hiding or omitting the real terms of the agreement. No matter how you look at it, most of these offers are pretty shady and the FTC is cracking down on them.

The FTC imposed a $7,803,425 judgment against one company. They ended up settling for less, but it was still several hundred thousand dollars. There are several cases against marketers cited plus they have published a report about the requirements for continuity offers and negative option marketing.

From FTC.gov FTC Targets Weight-Loss Marketers’ Allegedly Bogus ‘Free’ Sample Offers

All of the defendants were charged with violations of the FTC Act:

* Making false or unsubstantiated weight-loss and related claims;

* Failing to disclose adequately that consumers who order a “free” sample are enrolled in a continuity program, that their accounts will be debited or charged to pay for the program, that they must cancel to avoid extra shipments and debits and charges, and how and when they must cancel to avoid the debits or charges; and

* Debiting or charging accounts of consumers who cancelled or tried to cancel, or those who were not adequately informed of the negative option features or terms and conditions, and therefore did not provide express informed consent for the debits or charges.

4 Comments on FTC – Big Crack Down on Free Trial Diet Offers

  1. what are you thoughts about them going after small fishes like publishers…they seem to be going after the actual company but what steps can an affiliate take to protect oneself from this hunt?

  2. Hi JY

    I agree they seem to be going after the merchants, or traditional marketers, but there is nothing to stop them from going after affiliates.

    These guys that have the big Acai flogs with all kinds of hype and false product claims and assurances that there is no risk or obligation to getting the free trial could easily get in trouble.

    I think affiliates need to check the merchant’s landing page and go through the copy on the order page to see if it meet the FTC guidelines. On the affiliate site or in their own ads they need to be careful what they say. For instance “Free trial, absolutely no obligation” is not a true statement so should not be used with a continuity offer just to try to get the deal.

  3. Interesting situation. I think it is about time.

  4. Thanks, I enjoyed reading your post. Its nice to see someone writing something worth reading. Take care.

    – Jack

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