FTC hits bogus benefits claims

By December 21, 2010Website Lawyer

Web lawyer claimsHere’s something you might want to discuss with your Web lawyer. There’s a company who advertised the ingredients in its yogurt had certain health benefits. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disagreed, claiming the company had exaggerated what the yogurt could actually do to improve your health.

39 state attorneys general had jumped on the bandwagon going after the company too for making these claims. What would you do in a similar situation with 40 government agencies hunting you down over a claim you made?

The company in this case caved in rather than trying to prove what they said was true. As part of the settlement, the company has to stop making the claims and fork out $21 million. And it will pay out a lot more in the future if caught making a similar “mistake.”

As your Web lawyer can tell you, whether or not you’re right doesn’t matter in some cases. The cost of fighting to prove your point can simply be too much. In other words, even if you “win,” you really lose because of the lost time and money spent fighting.

What does yogurt have to do with your online sales?

The same laws and regulations being used by the FTC and states to go after this company for allegedly making false claims also apply to health claims made for products and services sold online.

The same goes for making earnings (income) claims. Whether the claims are made online or offline, the government is watching.

Be careful what you say. When in doubt, don’t make a claim you can’t back up if the government decides to ask you about it. Of course, any legal issues should be run by your Web lawyer before making health or income claims.

To your online success!

-Mike the Web lawyer

Author Mike Young, Esq.

Mike Young has been practicing business and technology law since 1994 and is an angel investor in startups. He's been an entrepreneur since 1988. To get legal help from Attorney Young, click here now or call 214-546-4247 to schedule a phone consultation.

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