SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is suing three acai berry suppliers and one affiliate marketer over allegations the companies violated the state's Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act.
The lawsuits target Florida-based supplier Advanced Wellness Research, its successor, Netalab, and Nicholas Molina, as well as Utah-based supplier Crush LLC and its owner TMP Nevada, Inc.
The complaints allege the companies attract consumers with free trials but then charge customer's credit cards prematurely and in some cases, do not supply the contact.
The companies allegedly do not contact consumers after complaints have been made, according to Madigan.
"For thousands of dieters, the quest for a miracle product has become a nightmare," Madigan said. "Far too often, consumers end up losing their money - not weight - in these deals."
Madigan added that the companies often bill customer's credit cards for a few months supply before the consumers are able to cancel their orders.
Madigan's third complaint alleges Amirouche & Norton, LLC and Larby Amirouche, an affiliate marketer, misled consumers through Internet false advertising and fake endorsements.
The affiliate marketing company receives compensation from the suppliers by driving traffic to the seller's Web sites, according to Madigan.
"We must hold these Internet scammers accountable for their role in a seedy marketing game that steers unsuspecting consumers to online schemes," Madigan said.
Madigan's three suits ask the court to enter a permanent injunction barring the companies from selling misleading products or continuing with false advertising. The state is also asking the court to order the defendants to pay $50,000 for violating state law.
Acai berry is commonly marketed as a dietary supplement used in fruit drinks, coffee, tablets and whole fruit.