TINA.org in the News
Marketers exploit the aged with unproven brain-health claims
Newsweek, January 12, 2017
But whether it is illegally selling a drug still appears to be unresolved, according to FDA documents obtained by Truth in Advertising Inc., a Madison, Conn., consumer advocacy group, and reviewed by FairWarning. An FDA spokeswoman declined comment, citing “an open compliance matter” involving Quincy. A company official also declined comment.
Memory supplement from jellyfish doesn’t work, FTC says
KOMO News (ABC affiliate), January 10, 2017
Laura Smith is with the consumer group Truth in Advertising. They first raised warning flags about Prevagen more than a year ago.
“They don’t have the appropriate scientific backup to make those claims, so people with memory issues, many of whom are elderly and a vulnerable population is being led to believe that if they pop this pill, their memory will improve,” Smith said.
Michael Lindell, MyPillow Inventor: 5 Fast Facts
Heavy.com, January 5, 2017
Daniel S. Levine
Beginning in February 2016, Truth In Advertising (TINA) contacted the company, letting it know that it has not met the standards to prove any of these claims. MyPillow pledged to TINA that it would drop the claims. Indeed, Lindell is no longer referred to as a “sleep expert” on the site.
TINA’s complaints eventually led to a group of California County Attorneys filing a lawsuit for false advertising. In November 2016, SFGate.com reported that MyPillow agreed to pay a $1 million settlement.
‘My Pillow,’ the infomercial sensation, flunks out of Better Business Bureau
Chicago Tribune, January 4, 2017
The bureau’s announcement comes just a few months after My Pillow agreed to pay $1 million to settle a consumer lawsuit alleging the company overstated the benefits of its products. The company had claimed its pillows could prevent sleep loss from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea and migraines, raising alarms at the consumer watchdog Truth in Advertising.org, as The Washington Post reported. The organization also objected to Lindell’s claim that he was a “sleep expert,” when he had no such training.
My Pillow, the infomercial sensation, flunks out of Better Business Bureau
The Washington Post, January 4, 2017
The bureau’s announcement comes just a few months after My Pillow agreed to pay $1 million to settle a consumer protection lawsuit alleging the company overstated the benefits of its products. The company had claimed — without evidence — that its pillows could prevent sleep loss from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sleep apnea and migraines, raising alarms at the consumer watchdog Truth in Advertising.org, as The Washington Post reported. The organization also objected to Lindell’s claim that he was a “sleep expert,” when he had no such training.
BBB revokes MyPillow accreditation
ABC10, January 2, 2017
This is just the latest bump in the road for MyPillow. In November Lindell agreed to pay a penalty of $1 million after a group of California County Attorneys took legal action against the company, alleging deceptive advertising. A consumer watchdog organization said MyPillow’s website made unsubstantiated claims its products can cure snoring, migraines, fibromyalgia, and other health maladies.
‘Instagram Face’: Is It the End of Good Makeup?
The New York Times, November 30, 2016
“It has to be clear to the reasonable consumer that the content they’re viewing is an advertisement,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. “It’s not enough to hide that info in the fine print.” In August, the organization filed a complaint with the Kardashian-Jenners for social media ads that looked like testimonials.
Instagram Advertisers Switch From Celebrities To “Microinfluencers”
BuzzFeedNews, November 30, 2016
The FTC has not explicitly told brands and influencers how they need to disclose their financial relationships, Bonnie Patten, an attorney and executive director of the non-profit group Truth In Advertising, told BuzzFeed News.
“You can’t hide the disclosure in a show more description in a YouTube page,” said Patten. “You can’t hide the hashtag #ad or #igothisforfree in the midst of 22 other hashtags. Basically the law says you have to be transparent and the consumer shouldn’t have to work harder to figure out whether this is an ad or not.”
‘Deceptive marketing works’ — social media ads grab attention of regulators
CBC News, November 20, 2016
“We see social media influencers being paid, but consumers not knowing that they’re receiving monetary compensation for it,” says Bonnie Patten, director of Truth in Advertising, an American consumer group.
“It’s only human nature that if you receive something for free, or you’re paid over $100,000 to put up a post, that may change your mode of bias and interest in regard to that product or service. And consumers have a right to know that.”
Own a MyPillow? Company agrees to pay $1 million over claims pillow can cure insomnia, pain
AL.com, November 18, 2016
Consumer protection group Truthinadvertising.org, which conducted the investigation that led to the suit, praised the decision by MyPillow to remove the claims from its advertising.
“While MyPillow is doing the right thing by taking down these unsubstantiated health claims, they never should have been there in the first place,” said TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “I’m certain that there were consumers who relied on these deceptive marketing claims in making their purchases.”
Orlando boom company Jeunesse faces scrutiny over direct sales structure
Orlando Sentinel, November 14, 2016
Jeunesse has drawn the attention of a not-for-profit group, Truth in Advertising, which was praised by the FTC in August 2015 for helping expose a direct-selling company, Vemma. After TINA.org investigated Vemma, which sold energy drinks, the FTC temporarily halted operations of that company.
How celebrities like the Kardashians are bending the advertising rules in the social media age
Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), November 11, 2016
That’s according to the FTC’s own rules, which make it clear that you can’t blur the line between authenticity and marketing on social media. The Kardashians’ feeds are now on the radar of the watchdog as a result of Truth in Advertising’s complaint.
Why MyPillow’s CEO isn’t resting easy
CBS News, November 4, 2016
According to marketing watchdog Truth in Advertising.Org (TINA), Lindell also described himself in his ads as a “sleep expert,” even though he has no formal scientific training in the field.
TINA first raised questions about MyPillow in February. At that time, Lindell pledged to the nonprofit that it would remove the misleading medical claims about its product. “Enthusiastic” customers, however, continued to argue that My Pillow cured their ailments, endorsements that Lindell said he couldn’t control.
MyPillow Has to Pay $1 Million For Making Phony Claims In Its Ads
Woman’s Day, November 4, 2016
Marlisse A. Cepeda
According to an investigation from Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), a consumer watchdog group, the ads claim to treat conditions like sleep apnea and insomnia. Customer testimonials (which appeared on the company’s website but have since been taken down) also praised the pillow’s ability to treat symptoms for everything from acid reflux to cerebral palsy. If that sounds way too good to be true, it is.
MN-based MyPillow fined $1M for deceptive ads
Kare 11 (NBC affiliate), November 4, 2016
The consumer watchdog group truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) sounded the alarm about MyPillow back in February and shared its findings with prosecutors in those nine counties. TINA.org’s investigation concluded that the company made unsubstantiated claims that its pillow could treat or cure a variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.
MyPillow Mogul Michael Lindell Sees Self in Donald Trump
The Daily Beast, November 4, 2016
The language quietly disappeared from the website after consumer affairs group Truth In Advertising published a January 2016 investigation into the company. The TINA investigation, which accused MyPillow of making unsubstantiated health claims, became the basis of an October lawsuit by nine California counties. This week, MyPillow agreed to shell out nearly $1 million in civil penalties and another $100,000 to California-based domestic violence charities.
Infomercial sleeper ‘My Pillow’ gets $1 million wake-up call over false medical claims
The Washington Post, November 3, 2016
TINA.org also took issue with the fact that Lindell used the title of “sleep expert,” though he had no formal training as such. My Pillow promoted itself as the official pillow of the National Sleep Foundation — without disclosing the company had a financial relationship with the organization. The consumer group said it supplied information from its investigation to officials in California, one of the states where My Pillow advertises.
My Pillow Settles Consumer Lawsuit Over Health Claims for $1 Million
Consumer Reports, November 3, 2016
Mary H.J. Farrell
Earlier this year, the consumer watchdog Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) warned My Pillow that it would file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if the unsubstantiated claims continued. My Pillow scrubbed its website of any health claims, but others continued cropping up on its social media sites, TINA.org reports.
TINA.org shared its information with the California consumer groups, and last month the district attorneys of 10 counties filed a lawsuit alleging that My Pillow “knew or reasonably should have known” that the marketing claims were likely to mislead consumers.
Full of Fluff? MyPillow Ordered to Pay $1M for Bogus Ads
NBC News, November 3, 2016
The consumer watchdog group truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org) sounded the alarm about MyPillow back in February and provided its findings to prosecutors in California.
TINA.org’s investigation concluded that the company made unsubstantiated claims that its pillow could treat or cure a variety of sleep disorders, including insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome.
MyPillow gets rude awakening with $1M suit settlement
Star Tribune, November 2, 2016
After being supplied with evidence of unsupported health claims by Truthinadvertising.org, California consumer protection officials alleged in a lawsuit filed a month ago that MyPillow “knew or reasonably should have known” that the marketing claims were likely to mislead consumers.
My Pillow agrees to $1 million in penalties to settle suit over marketing claims
KOMO News (ABC affiliate), November 2, 2016
Pumped up sales pitches from founder Mike Lindell have helped rack up hundreds of millions in MyPillow sales. But, Consumer advocates at truthinadvertising.org launched an investigation over some of the claims. So did consumer protection officials in California. The allegations include misleading marketing and inappropriate health claims with no reliable scientific evidence.
MyPillow Subjected to Plenty of Legal Tossing and Turning
Consumerist, November 1, 2016
Truth in Advertising has been on the pillow’s case for most of the last year, and consumer protection officials in California have come to a settlement with the company over accusations of false advertising. Turns out that you can’t make unfounded claims about how a pillow treats actual medical problems.
Hammonton manufacturer small, but growing — with a boost from a giant
The Press of Atlantic City, October 26, 2016
Still, critics have questioned that commitment. The nonprofit Truth in Advertising called Wal-Mart’s website “a Made in the USA labeling mess,” saying it found more than 100 misuses of that claim on the site early this year.
New Ways to Avoid Surprise Subscription TV Bills
The Huffington Post, October 23, 2016
“It’s an increasingly popular billing tactic used by subscription services,” says Bonnie Patten, the executive director of Truth in Advertising, a non-profit organization. “Unfortunately, all too often the companies using these negative option offers fail to obtain consumers’ express consent for the recurring charges.”
Repackaging deal benefits from cheap labor
Omaha World-Herald, October 23, 2016
On the Internet, Nylrem hair rollers that appear identical to the store-bought ones also are described as “Made in U.S.A.”
“If that is the case, then that’s a violation of the law,” says Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, a deceptive-advertising watchdog. “Not only are they harming consumers by deceiving them, but they are also economically harming the company’s competitors who are being honest.”
Gold posts: Social-media endorsements are the latest thing in advertising
The Economist, October 15, 2016
Yet as media agencies and brands have piled in, the grey area between voluntary celebrity endorsements and paid advertisements has grown murky. Not all influencers label their posts clearly with “#ad”. Consumer watchdogs are crying foul. One, Truth in Advertising, recently accused Ms Kardashian and her sisters of running “deceptive marketing campaigns”.
State says e-cigarette company changed its name, kept deceptive marketing
The Salt Lake Tribune, October 4, 2016
The company’s ads were brought to the division’s attention by the Connecticut-based watchdog group, Truth in Advertising, which received dozens of complaints from spurned consumers.
Laura Smith said alarms were sounded after the group heard a radio ad for O2PUR that sounded almost identical to the Vapex ads that had garnered the earlier complaints.
Marketing Your Brand With Influencers? Make Sure the FTC Hits the “Like” Button
The Recorder, September 22, 2016
The FTC is not walking this enforcement road alone. For example, the consumer watchdog group Truth In Advertising recently investigated “Snapchat king” DJ Khaled (a hawker of everything from Dove soap to Ciroc vodka), and it filed a formal FTC complaint against five members of the Kardashian family, naming over 100 disclosure violations on behalf of brands including Calvin Klein, Revlon and Puma.
3 Lessons From The Kardashians On How Not To Do Influencer Marketing
Business 2 Business Community, September 15, 2016
A Truth in Advertising investigation has “cataloged over 100 instances in which members of the Kardashian/Jenner family have created and published Instagram posts promoting various companies without clearly and conspicuously disclosing that they have a material connection with those companies or that the posts are ads, as is required by federal law.”
Paying influencers to promote your products is perfectly legal but what is illegal is not disclosing the paid relationship between the influencer and the brand.
Watch Out For Hidden Ads On Social Media
CBS North Carolina, September 2, 2016
The Kardashians responded to Truth in Advertising by updating several of their posts. And Truth and Advertising cautions a lot of celebs are having issues with social media ads. The group just focused on the Kardashians because the family has the largest social media following.
Watchdog pushes to make social media stars disclose ads
CBS News, August 31, 2016
CBS This Morning
A consumer watchdog is urging the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on deceptive social media ads. Truth in Advertising says many social media stars fail to disclose when they are being paid to push products and services. Anna Werner reports on what the FTC is doing about it.
Endorsed on Instagram by a Kardashian, but Is It Love or Just an Ad?
The New York Times, August 30, 2016
In the case of Ms. West and her sisters, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian and Kylie and Kendall Jenner, TruthinAdvertising.org, a nonprofit that fights deceptive advertising, asserted that dozens of Instagram posts from the sisters violated guidelines from the F.T.C. that say it should be “clear and conspicuous” to consumers if a person endorsing a product “has been paid or given something of value.” However, while the agency suggests putting “#ad” or “#sponsored” at the start of those kinds of social media posts, or providing verbal disclosures in videos, there are no hard and fast rules.
Advocacy Group Files FTC Complaint Over Kardashians’ Instagram Ads
Buzzfeed, August 25, 2016
Last week, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising (TINA) sent a letter to the Kardashian/Jenner clan warning them about deceptive advertising on their social media.
Today, the organization officially filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, saying that Kim Kardashian West and her sisters had failed to comply with FTC disclosure standards for paid ads.
Kardashians clean up their Instagram act… kind of
Fox News, August 25, 2016
Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthinAdvertising.org, said the organization is happy with the edited posts, however she indicated there are posts on the sisters’ pages that have yet to be fixed.
“[Truth in Advertising] is happy to see they are taking steps in the right direction but this issue does not go away until all ads disguised as regular social media posts are clearly labeled as ads,” she told FOX411 in an email. “For far too long, the Kardashian/Jenner family and many of the companies endorsing them have been violating the law and it’s time that they are held accountable.”
Watchdog group says Kardashians don’t disclose ads on social media, violating FTC rules
Mashable, August 23, 2016
Truth in Advertising recently sent a letter to family manager Kris Jenner and dozens of associated brands alleging that five members of the reality show tribe have repeatedly failed to disclose instances in which Instagram posts were paid for by an advertiser — a violation of the Federal Trade Commission’s rules.
Kardashian family accused of ‘deceptive’ marketing over paid for Instagram endorsements
The Drum, August 23, 2016
Since the note was published on TINA’s website Kim Kardashian West has published an Instagram post promoting Sugar Bear Hair, one of the brands cited by group as being in violation of the rules, and badged it with the hashtag #ad
Ad watchdog group says the Kardashians are being illegally paid for Instagram posts
Quartz, August 23, 2016
The group, Truth in Advertising, reviewed the Instagram accounts of Kim Kardashian West, Khloe Kardashian, Kourtney Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, and Kendall Jenner and found more than 100 posts that “do not clearly or conspicuously disclose their relationships with the companies being promoted in the posts,” the group wrote in a letter sent to Kris Jenner last week.
The Kardashians slammed for not disclosing relationships to companies they hype on Instagram
Digiday, August 22, 2016
After a team of four examined more than 500 posts on each Instagram account of Kim, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian as well as Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Truth in Advertising discovered that each of them has around 100 posts that “do not clearly or conspicuously disclose their relationships with the companies being promoted in the posts as is required by federal law,” according Bonnie Patten, executive director for Truth in Advertising. The organization has sent a legal letter to the Kardashian family.
Kardashians accused of posting deceptive marketing campaigns
CBS News, August 22, 2016
Truth in Advertising Inc. says it will alert the FTC by Wednesday if the social media stars do not fix their posts. A spokesperson for the organization told Page Six, ‘The law is clear and people are not following it, and it’s not being enforced very often.
Kardashian Klan accused of ‘deceptive marketing’
Page Six, August 21, 2016
A legal letter from Truth in Advertising Inc. was sent to Kris Jenner and her lawyer saying, “We have found that members of the Kardashian/Jenner family are engaged in deceptive marketing campaigns.” Jenner manages the careers of her children.
The watchdogs decided to pursue action after reviewing the Instagram accounts of Kim, Khloé and Kourtney Kardashian, plus Kylie and Kendall Jenner, “and found a plethora of posts that do not clearly or conspicuously disclose their relationships with the companies being promoted in the posts as is required by federal law.
This lingerie company is using one of Victoria’s Secret’s own models to compete with the brand
Business Insider, August 2, 2016
However, its subscription program has been subject to criticism from consumers who claim they were duped into getting a membership, find it difficult to cancel, and who lose their monthly “credits” upon canceling their subscriptions. (Members are charged on the 5th of the month should they fail to select if they want to “shop” or “skip.”) Ad watchdog firm Truth in Advertising has also filed formal complaints against the company.
Victoria’s Secret is ignoring a massive shift in the lingerie industry — and it could be costing them tons of money
Business Insider, July 23, 2016
“The company, which operates primarily on a subscription model, has not been without its struggles; it has been plagued by consumer complaints about its business model and formal complaints filed by advertising-watchdog firm Truth in Advertising.)”
Group Says Walmart.com Misleading About Made In USA Products
WFMY News 2, July 22, 2016
“When a store like Walmart deceptively markets a made in the USA products, they are taking advantage of our patriotic sensibilities and paying more for products they don’t want,” Truth in Advertising Executive Director Bonnie Patten.
This Could Be the Last Pokémon Story You Read If…
WFMY News 2, July 15, 2016
“Makes you wonder if the whole Pokémon Go is some big ad designed to lure us into spending money. Nope. Not yet at least, according to Truth in Advertising. They called and checked with a bunch of companies where Pokémon are. None of the stores bought ads.”
Group tracking 61 federal class actions over alleged fictitious pricing
Legal News Line, July 12, 2016
Fictitious pricing lawsuits, like the one filed recently against Harbor Freight Tools USA by a class of customers “appear to be trending,” according to TruthinAdvertising.org executive director Bonnie Patten.
List prices be damned: Amazon reportedly showing only one price for products
Yahoo Tech, July 11, 2016
“We’ve been conditioned to buy only when things are on sale,” said Truth In Advertising executive director Bonnie Patten. “As a result, what many retailers have done is make sure everything is always on sale. Which means nothing is on sale.” As Patten mentioned, the problem with constantly putting products on sale is that customers cannot tell if something is a good deal when everything is on sale.
Wine Point Labels Can Be Misleading
WFMY News 2, July 6, 2016
Again and again we spotted the problem tags. Across four grocery stores all across town. And the group Truth In Advertising noticed too. “It’s incredibly deceptive. And it’s upsetting. And it could lead to you getting ripped off,” said TINA Executive Director Bonnie Patten.
Is Amazon Removing List Prices From Product Pages?
The Consumerist, July 6, 2016
“We’ve been conditioned to buy only when things are on sale,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthInAdvertising.org, a consumer information site. “As a result, what many retailers have done is make sure everything is always on sale. Which means nothing is ever on sale.”
Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices
The New York Times, July 3, 2016
“We’ve been conditioned to buy only when things are on sale,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthInAdvertising.org, a consumer information site. “As a result, what many retailers have done is make sure everything is always on sale. Which means nothing is ever on sale.”
Unpatriotic PR: A Year After Pledging to Rectify Issues, Is Walmart Still Guilty of Deceptive “Made in USA” Claims?
Bulldog Reporter, June 29, 2016
Despite assurances Walmart made to the FTC last fall that it had scrubbed all false and deceptive “Made in the USA” claims on its website and put in place procedures to flag any future misrepresentations—assurances that helped close out an FTC inquiry—the retail giant’s website is still replete with false and deceptive U.S.-origin claims, the firm asserts.
Walmart Is Still Making Bogus Made In USA Claims Says Ad Watchdog
Fortune, June 29, 2016
The Federal Trade Commission initiated a probe into the retailer last year, after Truth in Advertising said Walmart had mislabelled over a hundred products as “Made in the U.S.A.” Walmart dodged government action then by taking voluntary steps to “prevent consumer deception,” the FTC said in a letter. That included clearing its website of the logos, and making more detailed disclosures about what percent of the product was made in the states.
Walmart’s “Made in the USA” claims take another hit
CBS News, June 29, 2016
If a product is labeled “Made in the USA,” it means what it says, right? When it comes to some products Walmart (WMT) sells with that label, an advertising watchdog group says it ain’t so. Truth in Advertising.org (TINA) alleges that it found more than 100 products on Walmart.com that were erroneously labeled as “Made in the USA,” saying they were either partially or completely produced overseas.
Are Wal-Mart’s Made-in-the-USA Products Really Made Here?
The Motley Fool, June 29, 2016
Wal-Mart is not saying that it has never inadvertently misused the “Made in the USA” claim nor is it saying that it’s not possible that products on its website are misusing it now. TINA.org wants the FTC to investigate and the agency should, since it has a very clear definition for what made in the USA means.
Wal-Mart OKs 800 items for website
Arkansas Online, June 29, 2016
But its “Made in the U.S.” claims have been criticized by groups like Truth in Advertising, which said Tuesday that it compiled a sampling of more than 100 “Made in the U.S.” misrepresentations that show the retailer “continues to deceive consumers.”
The group said it sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission saying that “intervention is needed.”
Walmart’s Made In The USA Claim: Fact Or Fiction?
Forbes, June 28, 2016
Last year, Walmart scrubbed the “Made in the USA” labeling from its website following allegations from the nonprofit group Truth in Advertising that found more than 100 examples of items that did not adhere to that label’s requirements. To claim “Made in the USA,” all of the components must be manufactured and assembled in the United States.
Walmart Still Reportedly Misusing “Made In U.S.A” Labels
Consumerist, June 28, 2016
In a letter sent to the FTC on Tuesday, TINA accuses Walmart of making hollow assurances that it would no longer misuse “Made in the U.S.A.” labels in order to end the regulator’s probe last year.
Watchdog group calls out Wal-Mart for ‘deceptive’ Made in USA claims
RetailDIVE, June 28, 2016
Wal-Mart has been in the spotlight for “Made in USA” labels on its website before, in a similar investigation from TINA in June and July last year. The retailer cooperated with the FTC then, after which the agency dropped its probe.
Second amended complaint filed against Heinz over ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ label
Legal Newsline, June 28, 2016
“Only California has a state law that specifically regulates the standard for a Made in the U.S.A. designation,” Bonnie Patten, executive director at Truth In Advertising Inc. (TINA.org), told Legal Newsline.
Group fighting false advertising wants example made of Carter’s
Legal Newsline, June 10, 2016
“Fictitious pricing exploits consumers’ desire to obtain a bargain, and means that consumers may pay more for a good or service than if they had continued searching for the lowest price,” Bonnie Patten, the Executive Director of TruthInAdvertising.org (TINA.org), told Legal Newsline.
JustFab looks to shake bad press, angry customers
Retail Dive, June 1, 2016
Last year, the retailer settled a consumer protection lawsuit in California for $1.8 million, and has been the target of consumer advocacy groups such as Truth in Advertising.
MyPillow’s fortunes soar, but not without complaints
The Boston Herald, May 29, 2016
“While MyPillow is doing the right thing by taking down these unproven health claims, they never should have been there in the first place,” said Truth in Advertising executive director Bonnie Patten in a statement.”
Wine for sale may not match ratings, group warns
Journal Inquirer, May 25, 2016
“In a review of 30 stores, all in the southern portion of the state, Truth in Advertising, or TINA.org, found that 26 of the stores posted inaccurate ratings and reviews with wine for sale. In some cases, the wines on the shelf weren’t the year or variety cited in the reviews, TINA.org Executive Director Bonnie Patten said in a news release.”
In vino veritas? Not always
Republican American, May 25, 2016
“In many instances, the information is inaccurate at best and deceptive at worst,” said Executive Director Bonnie Patten. “We think of this as the classic bait and switch.”
Connecticut liquor stores accused of deceptive ratings displays
Fox 61, May 25, 2016
An investigation from Madison-based watchdog group Truth in Advertising concluded that many Connecticut liquor stores are displaying ratings cards that do not match with the bottles actually being sold. The group visited almost 30 liquor stores along the shoreline and found nearly 90 percent of display ratings do not correspond with the bottles or vintages on the shelves.
Investigation Finds Mislabeled Wine in Several CT Liquor Stores
NBC Connecticut, May 24, 2016
“They bait you with a vintage and a rating that’s very good, and then they switch it for a different bottle and a different vintage, which can dramatically affect the rating,” said TINA’s Executive Director Bonnie Patten.
Wines being sold with misleading ratings
HartfordBusiness.com, May 24, 2016
Madison-based Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) said most liquor stores selling wine, including independent neighborhood stores and major chains, displayed wine ratings for bottles or vintages other than those for sale.
Wine-store signs often deceptive, group says
The Day, May 23, 2016
“The deceptive signage found in the sampling of stores may be indicative of a widespread issue,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TINA, in a statement. “Liquor stores need to review their in-store marketing practices to make sure that shoppers are getting accurate information about the actual wine bottles on their shelves.”
Go Paks suit latest in consumer pushback over packaging
Legal News Line, May 23,2016
“We have seen great number of cases being brought in regard to non-functional slack-fill,” Bonnie Patten, executive director of truthinadvertising.org, recently told Legal Newsline. “I think there were 34 cases in 2015, and it looks like 2016 is on track to have similar number of cases. It’s definitely a hot item for class actions at the moment.”
GSA Issues Notice Concerning Trade Agreements Act and “Made in America” Compliance
Lexology, May 19, 2016
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
In addition, TruthInAdvertising.Org (TINA.org) has been involved in ongoing communications with GSA regarding the accuracy of representations on the GSA Advantage website.
Customer disdain for this ‘innovative and disruptive’ business model is only growing
Business Insider, May 15, 2016
“I think what really focused us on Adore Me was one particular provision in their terms and conditions which I found to be absolutely outrageous,” Bonnie Patten, Truth in Advertising’s executive director, told Business Insider on Monday, “which was that when a consumer attempts to cancel this membership, that the company takes any unused credit from the consumer.”
Is Adore Me being transparent enough on price?
Upstart Business Journal, May 10, 2016
“The Truth in Advertising Campaign wrote a letter late last month to company CEO and founder Morgan Hermand-Waiche, asking that the company address complaints that its investigation revealed involving membership fees. It claims that the company draws shoppers in via TV and social media ads with introductory offers for a $24.95 bra and panty set, but doesn’t make it clear on its website that the introductory discounted offer hinges on signing up for VIP membership, which costs $39.95 per month.”
This lingerie startup isn’t so cute anymore
The New York Post, May 9, 2016
“The company dangles lower prices for bra-and-panty sets for $24.95 without clearly saying that shoppers only get that price only if they sign up for a VIP membership, which costs $39.95 a month, according to Truth in Advertising (TINA).”
A hot lingerie startup is drawing more fire for shady billing practices
Business Insider, May 9, 2016
“Now, nonprofit advertising-watchdog Truth In Advertising has filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, the New York Attorney General’s office, and the District Attorney’s office in Santa Clara, California, claiming the company utilizes misleading marketing practices to trap consumers into subscription billing cycles.”
Slate, May 9, 2016
“Writing in support of a pyramid law for the blog of consumer group Truth in Advertising, Vander Nat said the first thing such a law would make clear, is that, ‘In an MLM context, an organization is a pyramid scheme if it rewards participants primarily for recruitment, while the firm’s product is incidental to the proposed business opportunity…”
The Future of Shopping: Trapping You in a Club You Didn’t Know You Joined
Bloomberg, April 28, 2016
Rebecca Greenfield and Kim Bhasin
“They present consumers with this incredible offer and they don’t simultaneously inform them of all the downsides,” says Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, a consumer-rights watchdog.”
Some Online Bargains May Only Look Like One
The New York Times, April 13, 2016
“Ask any consumer: ‘Would you like to be manipulated into purchasing anything you would not otherwise buy?’” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthinAdvertising.org. “My guess is the answer would be no.”
Op-ed: Multi-level marketers need to stop disease-treatment claims
The Salt Lake Tribune, March 22, 2016
“When it comes to health claims involving diseases and disorders, the law is clear. It’s time that those selling supplements within the MLM industry take heed and put an end to such “cure-all” claims.”
MyPillow fight with watchdog
Star Tribune, March 14, 2016
“He was saying using MyPillow could help with insomnia, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome,” said TINA’s communication director Shana Mueller, “and he had customer testimonials on his website that talked about MyPillow alleviating the symptoms of anxiety, migraines, acid reflux, menopause, cerebral palsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Walmart’s Made-In-USA shell game
Craftsmanship Magazine, March 11, 2016
“On July 14, 2015, Patten wrote an eight-page letter to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (the agency charged with the nation’s consumer protection) complaining that Walmart was deceiving its customers. “Walmart.com is replete with false and deceptive advertising,” her letter stated.”
Get Gephardt: Utah consumers kept in the dark
KUTV.com, March 2, 2016
Cindy St Clair and Matt Gephardt
Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, takes credit for the softening of the law saying her group has been battling Utah for records for several years.
Still, she does not believe Bramble’s bill goes nearly far enough and that Utah lags far behind other states.
“The vast majority of states will provide consumers with the complaints that their departments receive,” she said.
My Pillow Faulted for False Health Claims
Consumer Reports, February 24, 2016
Mary H.J. Farrell
“While My Pillow is doing the right thing by taking down these unsubstantiated health claims, they never should have been there in the first place,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TINA.org. “I’m certain that there were consumers who relied on these deceptive marketing claims in making their purchases.”
Targeting fraud: Complaints against hard-sell Utah coaching firms made public
The Salt Lake Tribune, January 17, 2016
“But Truth in Advertising, a national watchdog group, argues Utah’s first foray into releasing consumer complaints is too timid and the mechanics of the law too cumbersome to be of real benefit to consumers.”
This unique business model is taking over retail —
and customers are saying they hate it
Business Insider, January 17, 2016
Still, some experts think that JustFab uses this model to optimize success, even if it’s misleading. “It’s a model that allows [JustFab] to make more money … Unfortunately, misleading marketing works. And that’s what this company is, in some part, using to be so successful,” Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, said to Bloomberg.
Truth In Advertising: Who You Gonna Call?
MediaDailyNews, January 14, 2016
“Finally, you might want to drop in on Truth in Advertising, Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is ‘to be the go-to online resource dedicated to empowering consumers to protect themselves and one another against false advertising and deceptive marketing.'”
Big Scam on Campus
Phoenix Magazine, January, 2016
“Bonnie Patten, head of the nonprofit advertising watchdog organization Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), whose website has been closely analyzing Vemma’s claims and business structure since 2013, says what Vemma’s being required to do is simply act like the regular business Boreyko keeps insisting it is.”
The Importance of Being Honest: Lessons learned from the JustFab disaster
Business.com, December 7, 2015
“Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, told Bloomberg Business that JustFab tactics are shady. “It’s a model that allows [JustFab] to make more money,” said Patten. “Unfortunately, misleading marketing works. And that’s what this company is, in some part, using to be so successful.'”
Chicago Pols Push Controversial Sales Programs
Better Government Association, December 6, 2015
“‘You are not permitted to make people think you are going to be rich with a company if the fact of the matter is 85 percent or more of people involved will not be successful,’ said Bonnie Patten, executive director of advocacy organization Truth In Advertising.”
How This Company—and Mike Huckabee—Cashed In by Scaring Conservatives
Mother Jones, November/December 2015
“Last year, after an investigation by the nonprofit watchdog Truth in Advertising, Stansberry removed hundreds of customer testimonials from his company’s website and promotional materials.”
Walmart Website Removes “Made in USA” Logos Amid Investigation
New Brunswick Today, November 5, 2015
“Walmart’s “Made in USA” claims were called out over the summer by a watchdog group known as Truth in Advertising (TIA) after it found hundreds of mislabeled products…The fact that the watchdog group published its findings was enough to kick off the FTC probe.”
JustFab reviewing practices after accusations of deceptive tactics
Retail Dive, November 2, 2015
“Last year, the retailer settled a consumer protection lawsuit in California for $1.8 million, and has been the target of consumer advocacy groups such as Truth in Advertising.”
JustFab Is Reviewing Customer Service Practices as Complaints Pile Up
Bloomberg Business, October 30, 2015
“Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, a consumer protection nonprofit, says the number of complaints to the BBB and FTC shows that ‘articulate, reasonable people are being duped.’
‘It’s a model that allows [JustFab] to make more money,’ said Patten. ‘Unfortunately, misleading marketing works. And that’s what this company is, in some part, using to be so successful.'”
Kate Hudson’s controversial athletic clothing company is considering making a major change to its policies
Business Insider, October 30, 2015
“Some experts think JustFab’s model is successful, albeit misleading.
‘It’s a model that allows [JustFab] to make more money … Unfortunately, misleading marketing works. And that’s what this company is, in some part, using to be so successful,’ Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising, said to Bloomberg.”
Walmart’s Christmas plan: Deep discounts, but you’ll pay for shipping
The New York Post, October 29, 2015
“Consumer advocacy group TINA.org forced Walmart to back away from Made in USA labels online after it was the subject of an FTC probe into deceptive advertising.”
Wal-Mart Stores Inc sheds “Made in USA” logo From Its Website
Business Finance News, October 24, 2015
“In June, Walmart’s made in USA logo claims were brought under enquiry after the watchdog Truth in Advertising exposed hundreds of international products that were sold on retailer’s website.”
Walmart drops Made in USA labels after deceptive advertising probe
CBC News, October 23, 2015
“Walmart’s Made in USA claims were called into question after Truth in Advertising discovered hundreds of products on the website were actually made elsewhere.”
Walmart Busted for ‘Made in USA’
AM 740 KTRH News Radio, October 22, 2015
“The inquiry stems from a report from the watchdog group Truth in Advertising that found more than 100 items on Walmart’s web site that misled consumers with the “Made in the USA” logo.”
Those ‘Made in the USA’ Products May Not Be as Patriotic as They Seem
Independent Journal, October 21, 2015
“The watchdog group Truth in Advertising found 100 instances of mislabeled products in June and raised them with the company. They found another 100 in July and took the information to the FTC, said legal director Laura Smith.”
Walmart forced to remove ‘Made in the USA’ logos
Daily Kos, October 21, 2015
“This summer, watchdog group Truth in Advertising said it found more than 100 examples of items labeled with a “Made in the U.S.A.” logo on Walmart’s web site that misled consumers.”
Walmart suddenly removed ‘Made in USA’ labels from its website
Business Insider, October 21, 2015
“Walmart’s “Made in USA” claims were called into question this summer after the watchdog group Truth in Advertising discovered hundreds of products that were mislabeled.”
Anti-aging company Jeunesse Global falls under suspicion
Cosmeticsdesign.com, October 21, 2015
“Since TINA did not see swift change in the Jeunesse marketing messages after contacting the company last month, it filed a formal complaint this week with the Federal Trade Commission.”
Regulators Drop Probe Into Walmart’s “Made In The U.S.A.” Labeling After Designation Dropped From Website
Consumerist, October 21, 2015
“Walmart’s “Made in the U.S.A.” woes began back in June when the group Truth In Advertising claimed the company’s website had more than 100 examples of products incorrectly marketed as made in America.”
Walmart Removes ‘Made In The USA’ Logos From Website After Government Investigation
International Business Times, October 21, 2015
“However, the watchdog nonprofit Truth in Advertising issued a report in June saying it found more than 100 items that misled consumers by with false “Made in the U.S.A.” labels. Some of these items were not actually made in the United States while in other cases, the group said it was not clear what the labels indicated.”
Walmart removes “Made in USA” logos from website after government inquiry
Fortune, October 20, 2015
“This summer, watchdog group Truth in Advertising said it found more than 100 examples of items labeled with a “Made in the U.S.A.” logo on Walmart’s web site that misled consumers.”
Wal-Mart is betting big on ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ So why was the label scrubbed from its Web site?
The Washington Post, October 20, 2015
“In a report issued over the summer, the nonprofit Truth in Advertising said it found more than 100 examples of items labeled with a “Made in the U.S.A.” logo on the retailer’s Web site that misled consumers. Some items on the Web site that claimed to be made in America actually weren’t, the group said, or Wal-Mart didn’t clearly indicate what the label actually meant.”
U.S. ends probe of Wal-Mart on ‘Made in USA’ logo
Reuters, October 20, 2015
“The watchdog group Truth in Advertising found 100 instances of mislabeled products in June and raised them with the company. They found another 100 in July and took the information to the FTC, said legal director Laura Smith. ‘In light of the company’s steps to address the issues, we’re not surprised that the investigation has been closed,’ said Smith.”
Health groups urge FDA to investigate e-cig therapeutic claims
The Hill, October 19, 2015
“The groups said Truth in Advertising (TINA) reviewed more than 150 manufacturer and seller websites and found claims that e-cigarettes helped smokers stop smoking.”
Tempe-Based Vemma Scammed ASU Students with Pyramid Scheme, FTC Says
Phoenix New Times, September 29, 2015
“The main difference between an MLM and a pyramid scheme is all about recruitment,” Patten says. “In a pyramid scheme, the primary purpose is recruitment. In a legitimate MLM, the primary purpose is to sell goods or service to ultimate users.”
Vemma CEO confident after Tempe company’s court hearing on pyramid scheme allegations
Cronkite News-Arizona PBS, September 16, 2015
“The FTC has an incredible record in these kind of hearings,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising after giving testimony. “They’re basically 17-0 when it comes to getting a preliminary injunction after a (temporary restraining order). But you know, it’s a really hard decision the judge has to make.”
Can Americans collect ‘Canadian Social Security’?
CNBC, September 15, 2015
“Deceptive advertising is a moneymaker,” Patten said. “Most companies that engage in it see it as a cost of doing business.”
How energy drink firm ended up in feds’ sights
Cincinatti Enquirer, September 2, 2015
“That message caught the attention of parents – and the media. Truth in Advertising, a nonprofit consumer protection agency in Connecticut, began posting stories and gathering evidence that later would help the FTC in its case.”
Valley energy drink company temporarily shut down for operating a pyramid scheme
CBS 5, Arizona, August 26, 2015
“Pyramid schemes victimize the vast majority of people that join them, so it’s always a positive thing when one’s shut down.” (Bonnie Patten, TINA.org Executive Director)
FTC Affirms Filing Complaint Against MLM Company Vemma Nutrition
Streetinsider.com, August 26, 2015
“The FTC appreciates the assistance of the Attorney General Offices of Arizona, South Carolina, and Michigan, the Tempe Police Department, and the nonprofit organization Truth in Advertising in bringing this case.”
Federal Trade Commission Calls Vemma A Pyramid Scheme That Preys On Young Adults
Forbes, August 26, 2015
“The vast majority of Affiliates make no money,” the FTC said of its Vemma investigation, which was aided by attorneys general in Arizona, South Carolina and Michigan, and the non-profit Truth In Advertising.
FTC targets company after Enquirer investigation
Cincinnati Enquirer, August 25, 2015
The Connecticut-based consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising has highlighted Vemma in multiple posts since 2013…“After two years of TINA.org investigating Vemma, I am not at all surprised that the FTC is bringing a legal action against the company given its business structure and continual violations of the 1999 FTC consent order that precluded Vemma from making health claims,” Bonnie Patten, the group’s executive director, told The Enquirer in an email Tuesday.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (WMT) Warns Suppliers about Lying to Buyers
LearnBonds, July 30, 2015
In June, Truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org), an advertising watchdog group, discovered hundreds of products on the Wal-Mart website labeled “Made in the USA” when they were “Made in China.” Also, many supposed “Made in the USA” products contained foreign elements.
Senator Urges ‘Made in U.S.A’ Investigation After Troubleshooters Investigation
NBC Connecticut, July 28, 2015
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy is calling on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to investigate fraudulent or misleading claims companies make about products being “Made in the U.S.A.” and said it follows an NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation. The Troubleshooters’ story cites Truth in Advertising, which found 200 total examples of Walmart mislabeling foreign-made products as American-made, including disposable spoons, children’s toys, and cosmetic sponges.
What “Made in the USA” Really Means
NBC Connecticut, July 23, 2015
Take, for example, Walmart. “We found a multitude of errors on their website,” said Patten. Truth in Advertising found 200 total examples at Walmart, ranging from disposable spoons, to children’s toys, to cosmetic sponges. In each example, the retailer mislabeled foreign-made products as American-made.
What does “Made in USA” label really mean?
KPRC-Houston, July 9, 2015
Bonnie Patten, the executive director of the non-profit group Truth in Advertising, says there’s only one problem. “The vast majority of their products would not meet the legal definition for a “Made in the U.S.” product,” she explained. The group challenged Almay’s ad, filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Just last week, Almay changed the slogan from “Simply American” to “The American Look.”
Watchdog calls Walmart out over ‘Made in USA’ claims
Cosmetics Business News, July 8, 2015
US retailer Walmart has come under fire from watchdog Truth in Advertising (TINA.org) over some of its ‘Made in the USA’ claims and labels. The non-profit consumer advocacy organisation wrote a letter to Walmart on 22 June stating that an investigation TINA.org had carried out into walmart.com revealed that more than 100 products sold on the website used “false and/or deceptive” Made in the USA and Assembled in the USA representations.
800 to pitch products to Wal-Mart
Arkansas Online, July 7, 2015
Wal-Mart estimates that two-thirds of the products on its shelves are currently made, sourced or grown in the U.S. In an internal magazine distributed to employees, the retailer boasted more than 22,000 U.S.-made products available online, although that number recently came into question after an investigation by watchdog group Truth In Advertising.
Snopes.com, July 6, 2015
Shortly before the issuance of this memo, the group Truth in Advertising (TINA) announced they had put WalMart on notice that many items advertised on the company’s web site as “Made in the USA” were actually manufactured in China.
Almay Redesigns Slogan After Pressure by TINA.org
Beauty Packaging, July 6, 2015
Revlon has made dramatic changes to its marketing campaign for its Almay brand. This comes after pressure by TINA.org – Truth In Advertising, a non-profit. A deceptive advertising complaint was filed by ad watchdog about the brand’s former slogan, “Almay Simply American.”
7 Key Facts to Keep in Mind about Walmart’s ‘U.S. Manufacturing Summit’
AFL-CIO Now, July 2, 2015
Just this week, the nonprofit Truth in Advertising released a report that found more than 100 instances “of false and deceptive made in the USA representations” on Walmart’s website.
Investigation Finds Many of Walmart’s Made in the USA Products Come from China
The Fashion Spot, July 2, 2015
Truth in Advertising found over 100 items on the Walmart website labeled as “Made in the USA” were made overseas — and it wasn’t too difficult to unearth Walmart’s missteps. The organization said that many of these American-made pieces were made in China – and the proof was all right there on the packaging.
Can You Trust Wal-Mart’s ‘Made in USA’ Product Claims?
MoneyTalks News, July 1, 2015
Advertising watchdog group Truth in Advertising alleges that Wal-Mart mislabeled more than 100 items as “Made in the USA” on its website, when the products were actually made in China or other countries. Other products claiming U.S. origin only contained a percentage of USA-made components, or were assembled – not made – in the United States according to TINA.
How accurate are Walmart’s “Made in the USA” labels?
CBS Money Watch, June 30, 2015
(Bonnie) Patten added in an email to CBS MoneyWatch: “It is disingenuous for Walmart to attempt to deflect blame by saying that it simply jumped the gun on placing Made in the USA labels on certain products that were transferring operations to the U.S. Our investigation revealed dozens of examples where Walmart simply got it wrong and in so doing violated the federal law on Made in USA labeling.”
Wal-Mart works to correct ‘Made In USA’ label problem
The City Wire, June 30, 2015
Bonnie Pattern, executive director for TINA.org (Truth in Advertising), told The City Wire that when the organization first reached out to Wal-Mart on June 22 the company’s initial response was to blame manufacturers. “Then they said it was a coding error and a small glitch in their system which they are working to correct,” Pattern said. “Now we see Walmart.com starting to make some changes in their website. Some of the mislabels we identified have been taken down. Wal-Mart should have better quality control and in this case it was sorely lacking.”
Walmart.com’s ‘Made in the USA’ claims lead to fireworks
Internet Retailer, June 30, 2015
Just in time for the Fourth of July and all things USA, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is getting hammered by an advertising watchdog, truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org), for how it labels items “Made in the USA.”
Walmart Lying About “Made In The USA” Products?
NASDAQ, June 30, 2015
According to a letter from Truth in Advertising, Inc. or TINA.org last week to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, the nonprofit consumer advocacy organization said an investigation of www.walmart.com has revealed that it is marketing products through the use of false and/or deceptive labels.
Wal-Mart Labels Some Foreign-Made Products as Made in the USA
24/7 Wall St, June 30, 2015
Americans prefer to buy American-made products, according to Truth in Advertising, and are willing to pay a premium of as much as 60% for goods made in the USA. The group found that some product packaging identifies goods as “Made in China” but the website carries a badge claiming that the product is made in the USA.
Report Finds 100+ Walmart.com Products Labeled “Made In U.S.A.” That Were Made Elsewhere
The Consumerist, June 29, 2015
According to a letter recently sent by the group Truth In Advertising to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, “Walmart’s website is mired in USA labeling errors.” Among the items singled out in the letter are Walmart’s Equate store-brand makeup sponges in the image at the top of this story. TINA says these were given the Made in the U.S.A. label on Walmart.com even though the product’s own packaging clearly states that they were “Made in China.”
Just in time for July 4th, Walmart’s caught in an un-American lie
The New York Post, June 29, 2015
Truth in Advertising, a nonprofit that investigates deceptive marketing practices, fired off a letter to Walmart last week claiming that it found 100 items on the retailer’s website — including a dental whitening product, baby wipes and mattress pads — that were made outside of this country but carried nifty Made in the USA labels.
Group Slams Walmart Over ‘Made in USA’ Claims
Newser, June 29, 2015
An advertising watchdog group warns you to beware of patriotic “Made in the USA” labels on some Walmart products, saying the company uses them far too liberally. The group Truth In Advertising sent Walmart CEO Doug McMillon a letter last week saying that “Walmart’s website is mired in USA labeling errors,” and ran down a few examples.
Walmart busted: 100+ products labeled “Made in the USA” are actually imported
The American Genius, June 29, 2015
According to a report recently released by the advertising watchdog group, Truth in Advertising, over 100 products labeled on Walmart’s website as “Made in the USA” are, in fact, imported from other countries.
Some Almay ‘Simply American’ makeup ‘Made in China’
CNBC, June 4, 2015
The problem is that “Simply American” suggests Almay’s beauty products are made domestically, said Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth in Advertising.org, a nonprofit organization. While some products, including makeup remover, are American made, other products are made in China, the Czech Republic, Germany and Canada. Truth In Advertising.org has filed separate complaints about what they describe as false claims with the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General’s Office.
Sometimes political fact-checking works. Sometimes it doesn’t. Here’s what can make the difference.
The Washington Post, June 3, 2015
It’s worth pointing out that the journalistic enterprise of fact-checking is spreading beyond politics. Fact-checkers are now evaluating science-based claims and consumer product and service claims. Future research is needed to measure the success of non-political fact-checkers, such as TruthInAdvertising.org, at deterring the spread of other forms of misinformation – like claims that a product was “Made in America” when it was not.
Pom Wonderful’s Deceptive Ads: Lessons for Consumers and Investors
The Motley Fool, May 23, 2015
Coca-Cola agreed to pay $1.2 million to end a class action lawsuit last year, but nonprofit organization Truth In Advertising is calling on consumers to contest that settlement.
While Coca-Cola claims it never specifically promoted the health benefits of those products, many people argue that the name Vitaminwater sounds rather self-explanatory. The company labels Vitaminwater as a “nutrient-enhanced water beverage,” with names for the various flavors including “Defense,” “Revive,” and “Endurance.”
Almay’s ‘Simply American’ campaign not so American
New York Post, May 22, 2015
“There is no question that the marketing campaign is implying that their products are made in the USA,” said the group’s legal director, Laura Smith, who said she spent several months analyzing the labels and packaging of all 47 Almay products listed on its Web site.
Revlon’s Almay Accused of Covering Up the Truth on Made in America
brandchannel, May 21, 2015
Mark J. Miller
“Almay’s implied, unqualified claim that its cosmetics are made in the USA is false advertising,” stated TINA Executive Director Bonnie Patten, in a press release. “Its marketing is unfair to consumers and to companies whose products really are 100 percent made in the US.”
Ad Watchdog Hits Almay for ‘Simply American’ Campaign
O’Dwyer’s, May 20, 2015
A splashy “Simply American” campaign from Revlon’s Almay cosmetics line has come under fire from ad watchdog Truth in Advertising, which says the push is deceptive about its products’ origins.
Bonnie Patten, executive director of the Madison, Conn.-based group, said Almay’s “implied, unqualified claim that its cosmetics are made in the USA is false advertising,” alleging it violates FTC “Made in the USA” guidelines.
Parents complain: Drink company turning kids away from college
CBS 5, May 20, 2015
“It’s when you have a company where recruitment lines people’s pockets that you’re dealing with a pyramid scheme,” said Bonnie Patten, the executive director of the consumer advocacy group, Truth in Advertising.
Patten’s organization has received dozens of complaints about Vemma and conducted its own investigation into the company’s claims and practices.
Advertising watch group goes after Almay
Cosmeticsdesign.com, May 20, 2015
The brand’s star spangled #SimplyAmerican campaign motivated TruthinAdvertising.org to file a deceptive advertising complaint with federal and state authorities.
Bob’s Finds Some Unwanted Interest
Business New Haven, May, 2015
Bob’s Discount Furniture may sell some nice lounge chairs, but they’ve found themselves in the hot seat by Truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org, based in Madison, CT.
Truth in Advertising: beware of ‘interest free’ financing
ctpost.com, March 14, 2015
A Madison-based consumer watchdog group has gotten one of the state’s largest furniture retailers to revise its marketing of “interest free” financing.
TruthinAdvertising.org complained last fall to the state Department of Consumer Protection and to Attorney General George Jepsen that customers of Bob’s Discount Furniture weren’t adequately informed of the program’s requirements.
Madison company challenges Vitaminwater over labeling
Fox CT, March 16, 2015
Patten said the product’s label is misleading, touting its vitamin content and downplaying the roughly 30 grams of sugar in every bottle. “If they wanted to be honest with us and not deceive us in the labeling, they would have to call this ‘Sugarwater,’” said Patten.
Gas Company’s ‘Burn Money’ Ad Featured Oil Price … From Last Summer
Hartford Courant, January 29, 2015
“Consumers expect that if an ad is shown to them today that it’s honest and truthful, as of today,” said Bonnie Patton, executive director of Truth in Advertising, a consumer advocacy group in Madison. “The line is pretty clear: If it’s deceptive when its shown, it crosses the line.”
Utah provides haven for companies avoiding consumer complaints
Daily Herald, January 22, 2015
A national consumer advocacy group is praising potential legislation that would open consumer complaint records to the public. Fran Silverman, editor of Truth in Advertising’s website, TINA.org., said she supports a bill. The group fought to gain access to consumer complaints against Utah companies such as a small marketing firm and an e-cigarette producer. “We want to empower consumers and protect them,” Silverman said.
Warning: The Article You’re About to Read Might Make You Laugh
Wall Street Journal, January 22, 2015
Shirley S. Wang
Bonnie Patten, executive director of consumer advocacy group TruthInAdvertising.org, said many corporate lawyers tell clients to use disclaimers, and at times they can provide a legal defense, but other times they’re “worthless or worse than worthless.”
Company Agrees to FTC Demand to Stop Making Claims on Supplements Aimed at Kids with Speech Disorders
NUTRA Ingredients-usa.com, January 12, 2015
NourishLife’s outsized claims on the effect its products allegedly had on children suffering from apraxia and autism who had delayed speech first came to light almost two years ago in the form of a March 2013 letter by consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising (TINA) sent about NourishLife’s marketing of Speak to the company, the Attorney General of Illinois (where NourishLife is based), the Federal Trade Commission, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a months-long investigation of the company revealed a number of allegedly deceptive marketing claims such as claims that the product showed results in “as little as one week.”
Lawmaker Explores Making Utah Consumer Complaints Public
Salt Lake Tribune, January 6, 2015
Truth in Advertising believes full and quick disclosure of all consumer complaints is the best way to protect people from rip-offs and schemes.
Mike Huckabee Sold Out His Fans To A Quack Doctor, Conspiracy Theorists, And Financial Fraudsters
Media Matters, January 3, 2015
Truth in Advertising, a nonprofit organization “against false advertising and deceptive marketing,” criticized Stansberry’s “misleading” silver scheme, writing: “Several testimonials used to promote one of two retirement newsletters published by Stansberry – Retirement Millionaire – claimed that the newsletter gave them the secret to obtaining ‘free’ silver from U.S. banks. However, TINA.org learned that the silver was not free at all; consumers had to exchange their paper dollars for half dollars that contain silver — and those were ones only minted before 1971.” The group also criticized the firm for customer testimony that “omitted vital information” and “contained blatant lies.”
Editorial: ‘Vaping’ case exposes Utah consumer division weakness
Salt Lake Tribune, December 15, 2014
And the only reason we know that is because an advocacy group called Truth in Advertising submitted a records request to the division, and then won a battle before the State Records Committee. Those records showed the drastically reduced settlement figures, but they did not explain why the fines were so drastically reduced.
Utah quietly slashes fines from $1.1M to $31K for online e-cigarette marketers
Salt Lake Tribune, December 11, 2014
Truth in Advertising has called the division’s secrecy about complaints contrary to the interests of consumers it is charged with protecting, as well as out of line with the Federal Trade Commission and other states.
State probing Bob’s Furniture offers
The Day, December 3, 2014
TINA charged that consumers were “being set up to fail” and that “hidden interest charges” were being tacked onto bills. It called on state officials to take action against Bob’s “deceptive practices,” saying its own investigation came after a reader contacted TINA to document his experiences – a complaint subsequently corroborated by several others.
Bob’s Discount Furniture accused of deceptive ‘interest-free’ financing
New Haven Register, December 3, 2014
Truthinadvertising.org contends Bob’s Discount Furniture is deceptive in its advertising because it fails to make clear that if customers don’t pay off their entire balance in time, the retailer will charge consumers 27.99 percent interest accrued back to the original date of purchase. The organization claims Bob’s Discount Furniture doesn’t adequately disclose that consumers need to pay more than the minimum amount appearing on their monthly statements in order to pay off the balance in full within the required time period and avoid interest charges.
Editorial: Utah should open the records on business enforcement
The Salt Lake Tribune, November 17, 2014
The matter was raised by a national nonprofit consumer watchdog called Truth in Advertising. It uses public records, from the Federal Trade Commission and similar state agencies, to delve into allegations of consumer fraud and hold both private companies and government agencies accountable. Its attorneys say the kind of records that Utah will not, by law, divulge are routinely made available by the FTC and many other analogous state agencies.
Utah watchdog says it can’t disclose consumer complaints
The Salt Lake Tribune, November 17, 2014
Such secrecy is harming — not helping — consumers, according to the nonprofit Truth in Advertising news and advocacy organization, which was blocked by the state in its attempts to obtain copies of consumer complaints against a Provo-based multi-level marketing company.
Vitaminwater Healthy? Coca-Cola Might Not Get Off Cheap on a Settlement Over Its Marketing
Take Part, October 23, 2014
The nonprofit group Truth in Advertising is crying foul, and this week it formally requested permission from the court to object to the settlement. It’s not so much that $1.2 million is, essentially, pocket change for Coke—the company’s sales were almost $12 billion last quarter alone—but that the money will go to cover attorneys’ fees. Not a cent goes back to consumers. Even more troubling, Coke won’t be required to change all that much in terms of its deceptive marketing.
Vitaminwater Pressured To Pay People Who Thought It Was A Health Drink
Huffington Post, October 23, 2014
Truth In Advertising, a Connecticut-based group that fights against deceptive advertising, is trying to get compensation for people who bought Vitaminwater thinking it was more healthful than it actually is. To do this, the group is pressuring a judge to reject a class-action settlement over the brand’s advertising.
Group Challenges Settlement in Vitamin Water Case
National Law Journal, October 23, 2014
Blasting a proposed settlement that would give the plaintiffs’ attorneys $1.2 million and consumers only injunctive relief, the watchdog group Truth in Advertising Inc. has filed a motion to oppose the deal cut with The Coca-Cola. Co. over alleged false advertising of its Glaceau Vitaminwater products.
The group, campaigning for class members to object to the deal, also calls it “adding insult to injury” that the agreement calls for mandatory class certification, which does not allow members to opt out and pursue individual claims.
Consumer advocacy group disputes Coca-Cola legal case
Campaign Live, October 22, 2014
But consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising is not happy with Coca-Cola’s settlement and yesterday filed an objection, Business Insider reports.
According to a statement from Truth in Advertising, the proposed settlement is of “little benefit” to consumers, who have been “deceived” by Coca-Cola’s marketing.
People Who Felt Tricked Into Thinking Vitaminwater Was A Health Drink Might Be Compensated With Cash
Business Insider, October 22, 2014
Truth In Advertising (TINA.org), a US-based nonprofit organization, is calling on consumers to contest Coca-Cola’s $1.2 million preliminary settlement over allegations of deceptive labeling and advertising of its Glacéau Vitaminwater drinks.
Is Vitaminwater Worse Than Soda? Lawsuit Outcome Questioned
The Daily Meal, October 21, 2014
However, Truth in Advertising has just filed an objection against the proposed settlement claiming that it is not enough.
“Under the terms of the agreement, the class members are to receive zero cash reimbursement. Coca-Cola also gets to continue calling its product ‘vitaminwater’ and can still market the sugary drink in a deceptive manner,” claims the watchdog organization.
Vemma’s Army of Young Recruits
Al Jazeera, October 14, 2014
Laura Rena Murray and Atossa Abrahamian
The YPR Pariah blog has been silenced, but a copy of the content still exists on the Truth in Advertising website.
FTC:WATCH, October 1, 2014
Kirstin Downey and Claude Marx
Some of the letters came as a result of a public awareness campaign by a new Connecticut-based nonprofit group called Truth in Advertising.org, known as TINA, which is trying to highlight what it calls false advertising claims. The organization was founded about a year ago, and uses outreach through social media to raise awareness of issues before the FTC and other consumer protection agencies.
In an interview with FTC:WATCH, Bonnie Patten, TINA’s executive director, said the group is filing complaints about what she called scams, and urges its allies to spread the word about problems it has identified. She said they are writing letters to state and federal officials, around the world, to voice their concerns.
What, exactly, does “Made in the USA” mean?
Marketplace, September 1, 2014
“A lot of companies try and wordsmith their way around the law,” said Bonnie Patten from TruthinAdvertising.org.
State cracks down on three e-cigarette marketers
Salt Lake Tribune, August 28, 2014
A nonprofit group Truth In Advertising had filed complaints in July with the Federal Trade Commission and the Utah Attorney General’s office, raising issues with the marketing approaches of all three companies and others.
“We are happy to hear the state is taking action to hold the industry accountable and protect consumers from false and misleading business practices,” said Truth In Advertising marketing director Shana Mueller.
That Millennial Marketing Verve
The Awl, August 6, 2014
“I think [Vemma has] many features that could be at issue if they’re held up to a legal standard,” Bonnie Patten, Truth in Advertising’s executive director, told me. One of the things Patten cites is Vemma’s model of compensating brand partners for recruiting more brand partners; Vemma distributors receive “bonus points” for signing up new members (part of an aggregate of points that eventually turns into money), and the Frenzy Bonus rewards distributors with a cash payout for signing up three new distributors in a single week.
Students Targeted by Elixir ‘Pyramid Scheme’
London Times, August 3, 2014
“Truth in Advertising, an American consumer advocacy group, claimed its research showed that Vemma affiliates were more likely to lose money rather than to make any.”
Controversial Beverage Company Set to Hold Training Event in Stamford
Greenwich Time, July 22, 2014
“I think that they are taking advantage of a very vulnerable population and it can have extreme effects on the rest of these kids’ lives,” said Bonnie Patten, the executive director of Truth in Advertising, a Connecticut-based consumer watchdog group that has scrutinized the company and its claims. “The fact is that Vemma has many of the attributes of a pyramid scheme.”
Controversial energy drink maker targets local students
Cincinnati Enquirer, July 13, 2014
Bonnie Patten, executive director of the consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising, said she’d like to see laws in place requiring more transparency from all multilevel marketing companies.
“There are legitimate MLMs,” Patten said, “but here’s the thing: If I’m a pyramid scheme, I call myself an MLM. Within the MLM community, there are wolves hiding in sheep’s clothes.”
Tom Horne campaign contributors prompt questions
azcentral.com, June 7, 2014
Boreyko has faced scrutiny more recently as the CEO of Vemma Nutrition Co., an Arizona-based multi-level marketing company that specializes in energy drinks. Italian regulators earlier this year accused the company of being a pyramid scheme and fined it about $140,000, according to consumer group truthinad vertising.org.
Patriot Games: The Great ‘Made in USA’ Illusion
Consumer Digest, May 2014
Patten argues that because FTC can’t levy fines quickly, government regulations provide “minimal” deterrence to companies that make false or exaggerated labeling claims. However, both Patten and Hasler agree that it’s difficult to determine how many companies mislabel products, because no studies investigate the composition of products that are labeled “Made in USA” to the necessary level.
Marketing rules too lax on e-cigarettes, critics say
USA Today, April 27, 2014
Fran Silverman, editor of Connecticut-based Truth in Advertising, said she’s analyzing 600 consumer complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission about e-cigarettes. Hundreds of other complaints have been filed through Better Business Bureaus nationwide and with states’ attorneys general.
Setting aside health questions, ‘there’s a variety of claims being made — some by unscrupulous companies,’ Silverman said.
Verve Ruling Hits a Nerve
NY Post, April 26, 2014
The group, truthinadvertising.org, analyzed the Italian regulator’s findings this week and said it would take the information to the FTC.
Vemma has agreed to eliminate several bonuses that required buying huge amounts of product and recruiting additional people.
The consumer group dismissed the changes as window-dressing. It claimed that salespeople still need to buy $150 worth of product every month, purchase a $500 “affiliate pack,” and personally enroll at least six individuals who have to buy $150 of product each month.
How to Beat Tax-Time Identity Thieves
tom’s GUIDE, April 11, 2014
Sue Marquette Poremba
“The main tool IRS scam artists use is social engineering,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthinAdvertising.org, a consumer-watchdog group based in Madison, Conn. “The reason [the scams] are so effective is due to fear,” Patten said. “People are afraid of the tax man, and the scammers out there know that.” Fear of being caught by the tax collector makes recent immigrants, among other groups, top targets of IRS-related scams. “The fraudsters behind this IRS tax scams take advantage of vulnerable populations, their lack of knowledge and their fear of government agencies, to exploit and abuse [them],” Patten said.
Don’t Get Scammed
GX – The Guard Experience, Volume II, Issue 1, 2014
Heidi Lynn Russell
To help you protect yourself against schemes that target service members, we compiled advice from three experts: Holly Petraeus, director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); ID theft expert Robert Siciliano of BestIDTheftCompanys.com; and Shana Mueller, communications and marketing director at TruthInAdvertising.org.
Is ITT Tech screwing over students?
The Verge, March 18, 2014
“I don’t think the monetary fine will have any impact on ITT practices,” says Bonnie Patten from Truth In Advertising. “What could negatively impact [ITT Tech] are provisions that force them to more honestly and truthfully disclose the facts of their business.” Patten continues: “I’m not against [for-profit colleges] on a theoretical level. I’m against for-profit colleges deceiving consumers so they can make money.”
TCPA Doesn’t Protect Consumers from Texts by Third-Party Vendors
Consumer Eagle, March 11, 2014
According to Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthInAdvertising.org, the federal court’s decision follows the Federal Communications Commission’s 1992 ruling that “persons who knowingly give their phone number have in effect given their invitation or permission to be called at the number which they have given, absent instructions to the contrary.”
Buyer’s Remorse? You May Not Be Stuck With It
Credit.com Blog, January 24, 2014
And that’s where a lot of the problems occur, says Bonnie Patten, executive director at TruthInAdvertising.org. She says that one of the common complaints her organization hears involves consumers who sign up for a “free trial” of a product, only to discover that they will be charged on a recurring basis for additional product. These companies typically advertise that consumers can cancel if they aren’t satisfied, but “they limit it to such a short period of time that it’s nearly impossible to get out of it,” she warns.
Yelp Filtered Reviews Blues: Businesses Hate The Mysterious Algorithm, But Is There Any Way To Crack It?
International Business Times, January 17, 2014
Bonnie Patten, a lawyer and executive director of Truth in Advertising, said choosing whether or not to pay for reputation management is no different than choosing any type of service. In other words, don’t go into it with blinders on. “You really need to do your homework,” she said. “Before you sign a contract or hand over any cash, ask to speak to previous clients. I have no doubt that there are reputation-management companies out there that are up to no good. When you see things like ‘immediate removal’ or ‘quick and fast removal,’ that’s just not reality.”
FTC Dissent Could Spell End To Strict Health Ad Standard
Law360, Jan. 10, 2014
Bonnie Patten, the executive director of consumer watchdog group Truth in Advertising, supported the two commissioners’ assessment, telling Law360 on Friday on that Ohlhausen’s dissent “fuels the misconception that the FTC has a de facto rule that health- and disease-related claims must be substantiated by at least two randomized controlled trials.”
The FTC Says Some Native Ads Are Unlawful. How Should Brand Publishers React?
Contently, Dec. 5, 2013
“The FTC is grappling with the issue of what type of disclosure is necessary to ensure that consumers can distinguish advertisements from independent content online,” said Bonnie Patten, the executive director of TruthInAdvertising.org.
Watchdog Group Probes Into TEFL Institute’s ‘Deceptive Advertising Claims’
Progress Illinois, Nov. 22, 2013
The consumer watchdog Truth in Advertising.org is probing into the Chicago-based TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Institute over alleged “deceptive advertising claims.”
Vemma Verve Energy Drink Billing Class-Action Lawsuit
Topclassactions.com, Nov. 18, 2013
The class-action lawsuit refers to an article posted by the consumer watchdog agency Truth in Advertising, which cites the numerous complaints about Vemma that have been submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Mascara Ads: Thick Lashes, Fine Print
The New York Times, Nov. 12, 2013
Andrew Adam Newman
Ms. Patten, of Truth in Advertising, said that while a bit of manipulation in cosmetics advertising may seem a trivial matter, there are consequences. “If all this mascara is so great, I don’t understand why they need to use lash inserts,” she said.
Attorney general cracks down on fake online reviews
The Daily Record, Nov. 12, 2013
“I think it boils down to, when we see a (traditional) ad, we know it’s a biased review,” said Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth In Advertising, a Connecticut-based nonprofit that aims to protect consumers from false advertising and deceptive marketing.
Who’s to Blame for a Food Class-Action Lawsuit?
Eat Drink Better, Nov. 11, 2013
Patten suggests that companies would be well served not to make claims on packaging that is “at odds with the actual ingredients in the product.” She contends that terms such as “green,” “light,” “low fat or low sugar,” “local,” or “humane” are all terms that can get a company into trouble because the government does not regulate or adequately define these terms.
J&J Pays $2.2B Over Charges Of Improper Risperdal Marketing
Pharmalive.com, Nov. 4, 2013
In any event, some observers were critical of the settlement. “The lesson that pharmaceutical companies can take away from J&J’s $2.2 billion settlement with the DOJ is that the deceptive practice of off-label marketing of drugs is economically advantageous,” says Bonnie Patten, executive director of Truth In Advertising, a non profit organization. She notes that Risperdal sales between 1999 and 2005 totaled some $9 billion. “The real winner today is Johnson & Johnson.”
When Dental Hygiene Meets False Advertising Suits
Lexology, Nov. 1, 2013
Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP
But last week watchdog group Truth in Advertising Inc. (TINA.org) requested leave to file an amicus brief in the case to object to the terms of the deal. TINA.org argued that the proposed terms fail to provide meaningful or adequate compensation for the class. Because the vouchers must be used toward the purchase of future Philips products, “the only party to the settlement receiving any meaningful benefit is Philips,” according to the brief.
“Class members, who are the victims of deceptive marketing, will not receive any compensation whatsoever from the settlement unless they purchase another product from Philips,” TINA.org wrote. “To make matters worse, the de minimis value of the already small vouchers is significantly decreased by the fact that they will come with a time restriction – class members must use their vouchers within one year.”
Watchdog attacks coupon settlement in false advertising action
Lexology, Oct. 30, 2013
The recent filing of an amicus brief by advertising watchdog Truth in Advertising Inc. (TINA.org) is a good reminder that, even where there are no objectors, class-action settlements are subject to attack by third parties. The proposed settlement would dispose of a class action against Philips Oral Health Care, Inc. (Philips) for allegedly deceptively marketing its Sonicare AirFloss plaque removal product.
How to Spot Bogus Medical Products
FOXBusiness, Oct. 29, 2013
“A lot of companies are making claims that they are not permitted to make by law or are making claims they can’t back up,” says Bonnie Patten, director of Truthinadvertising.org. “Nowadays, there are so many cases of deceptive ads out there; state and federal agencies can only deal with so many.”
Just like financial or identity scams, Patten says unscrupulous marketers target vulnerable consumers with products. She says marketers prey on those suffering from an illness or problem and use that desperation to get consumers to purchase a so-called miracle cure.
Time to better regulate cosmetics claims and ads in the U.S. says TINA.org
CosmeticsDesign.com, Oct. 23, 2013
The time has come for more focus and pressure to be put on deceptive advertising claims made about cosmetics products, according to independently funded group, TINA.org.
TINA.org wants more from Sonicare AirFloss settlement
Dr. Bicuspid, Oct. 21, 2013
Dr. Bicuspid Staff
TINA.org is taking on the larger issue of “coupon settlements,” as a motivating factor since they benefit a business that has proved to be guilty of wrongdoing, the group said. Statistics show that redemption rates for settlement coupons and vouchers are extremely low.
These settlements are never a true benefit to consumers, argued Bonnie Patten, executive director of TINA.org, because consumers may not want to have to buy a product from a company that has deceived them. And, often the coupons come with stipulations that make it even more difficult and less likely consumers will redeem them.
Philips AirFloss Buyers Shafted In False Ad Deal, Group Says
Law360, Oct. 16, 2013
Advertising watchdog Truth in Advertising Inc. urged a California federal judge Tuesday to reject a settlement that provides consumers with vouchers, instead of actual cash, in a class action accusing Philips Oral Health Care Inc. of deceptively marketing its Sonicare AirFloss plaque removal product.
NourishLife revokes Speak claims after deceptive marketing practices exposed
NUTRAingredients-usa.com, Oct. 15, 2013
NAD’s recommendations followed a March 2013 letter by consumer advocacy group Truth in Advertising sent complaint letters about NourishLife’s marketing of Speak to the company, the Attorney General of Illinois (where NourishLife is based), the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after a months-long investigation of the company revealed a number of similar deceptive marketing claims.
Kid’s Dietary Supplement Forced To Change Deceptive Ads
Lawyers.com, Oct. 14, 2013
“It’s pretty simple,” says Bonnie Patten, an attorney and TINA.org’s executive director. “If a company is marketing a supplement, they need to be honest and truthful. If they’re going to make a health benefit claim, they need to have adequate scientific peer reviewed study to back up their claims.”
Insurance Marketplaces and Your Personal Information
WebMD, Oct. 11, 2013
According to the nonprofit organization, TruthinAdvertising.org, several fraudulent health insurance schemes related to Obamacare are already making the rounds. The scams range from fake websites claiming to sell Obamacare health insurance policies for under $30 a month to scam artists trying to get consumers to reveal personal information.
Who’s protecting the consumer?
Fox Business Markets Now, Oct. 11, 2013
Our executive director was on Fox Business to talk about TINA.org’s recent efforts to halt deceptive advertising.
Verve energy drink turning college students into sales force
New York Post, September 29, 2013
A consumer group, truthinadvertising.org, criticized Vemma’s promotion of its affiliation with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and TV health expert Dr. Mehmet Oz. Some young salesmen told The Post those two affiliations proves Vemma is on the up-and-up. But neither the team nor Oz endorse the company. Vemma donated money to an Oz charity, according to truthinadvertising.org, which said many consumers have complained to the FTC that Vemma is a pyramid scheme targeting high school and college students.
Snake oil for the 21st century
Consumer Reports, September 2013
This blend of nutrients was claimed to aid speech development in children “as soon as the first week.”
Busted. In August, a division of the Better Business Bureau recommended that Speak’s maker, NourishLife, stop certain ad claims. The action came at the urging of Truth in Advertising, a consumer-watchdog group. NourishLife has removed some claims and testimonials from its website.
2 women face sentencing in ‘gifting table’ scheme
wtnh.com, August 5, 2013
The women would often leave the tables after receiving $40,000 from new members.
Laura Smith, Legal Director of Truth in Advertising.org explains the deceptive component.
“The operation promises they’ll make large amounts of money. The problem is because it’s based on recruiting other people, eventually, people at the bottom of the pyramid lose out because there’s no one to recruit,” said Smith.
Native Advertising: The Truth About Truth
Ciceron.com, July 31, 2013
Bonnie Patten, executive director of TruthInAdvertising.org, described the unique problem with native advertising: “Native advertising, such as paid search results, presents a danger to consumers who may not be able to easily identify it as advertising, especially when the ads drive users to third-party sites. TINA.org believes that native advertising should be clearly marked as ads so that consumers can make an informed decision before they click.”
Launch of truthinadvertising.org featured on CBS Radio
CBS Radio, May 16, 2013
Truthinadvertising.org was mentioned in a CBS Radio segment by Joe Connolly, Wall Street Journal reporter for CBS Radio.
Dealership Raises Price of Car After Advertising Low
Fox CT News: April 11, 2013
Truthinadvertising.org was featured on a Fox CT News investigative report about a bait and switch at a Connecticut car dealership.
A New Connecticut-Based Website Works to Uncover False Advertising
CT.com, April 3, 2013
Gregory B. Hladky
The folks behind “Truth In Advertising,” a new Connecticut-based website, believe the claims that have been made for those products are only the smallest tip of a multi-billion-dollar deceptive-marketing iceberg.
“We want to be the Consumer Reports of false advertising,” says Bonnie Patten, a lawyer and executive director of the recently created nonprofit watchdog organization.
Skechers lawsuit: How to get your piece of the $40-million payout
L.A. Times, May 17, 2012
Meanwhile, Truth in Advertising, a new consumer advocacy group based in Connecticut, questioned whether the FTC settlement would serve as a deterrent. Bonnie Patten, the group’s executive director, noted that Skechers was the leader in the so-called shape-up shoe market, which racked up more than $1 billion in sales in 2010.
“What does $40 million mean to them?” Patten told The Times, saying that the FTC had failed to provide “one shred of data to support the idea that this is a just or reasonable number. My guess is that [Skechers’ celebrity-driven] marketing campaign cost more than that every year. Is this just the cost of doing business for them?”