FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.
The FTC is intent on stopping online deceptive health claims. It has been especially interested in shutting down sites that make false and misleading dietary claims.
As part of its crackdown efforts, the FTC, along with the State of Connecticut, filed a complaint that sought to stop a specific operation based on Connecticut.
And the FTC has now announced that the parties have agreed to a court order that temporarily halts the allegedly illegal conduct.
The fake news sites promoted these deceptive dietary products. They also allegedly asserted weight-loss claims that were deceptive. They allegedly informed customers that they could receive free product trials when they actually then ended up paying for the trials and monthly shipments. This operation allegedly brought in more than $25 million from U.S. consumers.
The stipulated court order halts the marketing or selling of certain product plans. It also prohibits the making of unauthorized charges while selling any product. It also prevents the assertion of certain deceptive claims about the products.
Furthermore, the order requires the cessation of collecting on customer accounts, and puts in place an asset freeze pending a final resolution of the court action.
The FTC has stated that this is its eleventh case targeting fake news websites designed to promote dietary supplements. The FTC notes that it works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices, and it appears that the FTC is getting the job done at least with respect to this particular Connecticut-based operation.
Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes. His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.