Oprah, Illinois AG Go After Acai Supp Marketers
First, Oprah… according to the Chicago Tribune:
Alleging Internet marketers are using her name without permission, Oprah Winfrey–through her corporate vehicle, Harpo Inc.–on Wednesday filed a federal trademark infringement suit against 40 peddlers of dietary supplements.
…Last year, Oz praised the anti-aging properties of the acai berry.
Not long after, Internet marketers began to sell acai products with implications that they had been endorsed by Winfrey or Oz, said Marc Rachman, an attorney for Harpo. But neither has ever sponsored such a product, he said.
The same phenomenon has occurred involving the health benefits of other substances aside from acai berries. “The subject is discussed on the show, then the scams start. It’s brazen,” Rachman said. But acai berries have been a particular magnet for alleged misdeeds.
Next… Illinois AG, Lisa Madigan:
Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged consumers to be cautious of signing up for free trials of acai berry products. Madigan filed consumer fraud lawsuits against three suppliers and a local affiliate marketer of acai berry products charging that the companies lure customers with free trial offers – through aggressive Internet marketing techniques – and then charge customers’ credit cards prematurely, do not always supply the product and make it nearly impossible to cancel.
“For thousands of dieters, the quest for a miracle product has become a nightmare,” said Attorney General Madigan. “Far too often, consumers end up losing their money – not weight – in these deals.”
…“The acai berry supplement sales programs are among the most aggressive that we have seen using misleading sales tactics to scam consumers,” said Attorney General Madigan. “Consumers should always be skeptical and educate themselves instead of blindly believing any endorsement claims. Also, consumers need to be very wary of weight loss and health claims that sound too good to be true.”
Couldn’t happen to a nicer group of folks! I hope Oprah and AG Madigan crush these bastards – it’s long overdue.