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FTC reaches settlement in first case regarding dietary supplement 'fake paid reviews'

By Marian Johns | Mar 5, 2019

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline). — The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a settlement in its first-ever case regarding a dietary supplement manufacturer's alleged use of "fake paid reviews" to market a weight-loss supplement. 

According to a Feb. 26 FTC press release, Cure Encapsulations Inc., and its former owner Naftula Jacobwitz, allegedly made deceptive claims about its Garcinia Cambogia supplement to help suppress appetite, block fat and produce weight loss. 

Cure Encapsulations also paid a third party to write "fake reviews" that were posted on amazon.com, the FTC says. Jacobwitz specifically told the third-party website operator to give the supplement a 4.3 out of five stars in order to produce sales, according to the FTC.

“People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online,” FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director Andrew Smith said in a statement. “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”

The settlement prohibits Cure Encapsulations and Jacobwitz from using any further weight loss, appetite suppression, fat blocking or disease-treatment claims without human clinical testing evidence, the FTC said. The defendants are also banned from misrepresentations concerning its endorsements and must e-mail notices to consumers who purchased its Garcina Cambogia product to notify them of the FTC's allegations as well as notifying amazon.com, the FTC said. 

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