A lot has happened recently regarding weight loss and the Internet. The web has been set on fire with advertisements about acai berries and how they can be used to for weight loss.
While there has been so much hype about this supposed hyper-nutritious berry, researchers are showing that it might not even have nutritional value. Jeffrey Blumberg is nutrition professor at Tufts University. Blumberg says “They are a natural berry fruit … rich in many antioxidants, but there have been very few studies that have been performed using them.”
However, all over the Internet are websites talking about the amazing nutritional content of acai berries and how they are able to help people lose weight. In a recent turn of events, many people have been lured into buying acai berries by fake news sites.
Fake News Sites
Recently the FTC filed a lawsuit against 10 websites that have been selling acai berries with fake endorsements by ABC, CNN, and Consumer Reports.
People who are doing searches on the Internet are finding that they are being driven to these websites. On the websites, there are testimonials from reporters stating how they were able to lose an incredible amount of weight in a short period of time. Many consumers have come forward with complaints about having spent on $70 – $100 on these fake news sites.
Some of the popular sites that have been investigated include thecnnews.org, cnnewsat6.com, and newsline07.com. People enroll in free trials that actually charge them unless they cancel within 14 days.
The ten websites that the FTC has filed against have reportedly spent more than $10 million dollars on advertisements to their fake news sites. Reports are indicating that they have made more than that in commissions.
Using Celebrities To Market Acai Weight Loss
Those that are looking into acai berries for weight loss also have to be aware of fake celebrity endorsements.
Celebrities like Orpah Winfrey and Rachel Ray have been used to endorse the acai berry weight loss products of Central Coast Nutraceuticals, Inc. Using the fake endorsements, they were able to get people to sign up for free trials. Eventually, the trials turned into contracts sucked out as much as $45 – $65 dollars a month.
The FTC has found that the company has also used extreme false advertising when it comes to the actual products.
David Vladeck is the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Vladeck says that the products are “nothing but a laxative.” He also says that acai berries might not even be in the pills.
Reportedly, the company has now been able to take over $100 million from consumers.
Class Action Suits
Several class actions suits have been filed to date, with some already generating payouts.
One of the settlements with Central Coast Nutraceuticals reached a record settlement of $1,375,000. According to the settlement, $1 million goes to the State of Arizona, with $350,000 going back to the customers who bought Pure Acai from CCN. Anyone who has bought from them can submit a claim, even if they don’t live in Arizona.
Lawsuits are slowly being filed every couple months by the FTC. In order to check the status of the lawsuits and the possibility of a refund, a consumer would have to contact the FTC Office of Public Affairs.
FTC Office of Public Affairs
Contact: 202-326-2180, [email protected]
Acai Berry Weight Loss Scams: Fake News Sites
Acai Berry Weight Loss Scams: Fake Celebrity Endorsements
Acai Berry Weight Loss Scams: CCN Class Action Suit
Acai Berry Weight Loss Scams: More Class Actions