FTC Charges "Infomercial" Company Misrepresented Ad
As TV Show and Made Unsubstantiated Claims for Bee Pollen
Company Agrees to Settle Charges
FTC News Release
May 15, 1990
The Federal Trade Commission has charged TV, Inc., and its president, William Thompson, with misrepresenting that "TV Insiders" is an independent and objective television program, when it is actually a paid advertisement. The Commission has also alleged that the respondents made false and unsubstantiated claims about the therapeutic benefits of the bee-pollen products promoted in the ad and in promotional materials. TV Inc. and Thompson agreed to settle the charges, under a consent agreement announced by the FTC today for public comment.
According to the FTC's complaint, "TV Insiders" is not an independent and objective consumer or news program, but rather a 30-minute commercial for Mountain-High bee-pollen products, including Bee-Young tablets, Mountain-High Royal Jelly, and Pollen Energy 520 capsules. The commerical ran on national cable networks and local independent stations.
The Commission complaint alleges that the ad and promotional materials falsely claim that:
- consumption of any bee-pollen product cannot result in an allergic reaction;
- consumption of any bee-pollen product such as those advertised on "TV Insiders" has been used to successfully treat allergy patients;
- Alpine Supreme Brand Arthritis-Strength Pain Relief is an effective analgesic; and
- TV Inc. had a reasonable basis, consisting of scientific evidence, for making those claims.
In addition, the complaint alleges that TV Inc. and Thompson could not substantiate claims that consumption of bee-pollen products can:
- cure, prevent, or alleviate allergy symptoms;
- slow, prevent or reverse the aging process;
- cure or prevent impotence and sexual dysfunction;
- promote weight loss; and
- provide effective relief for pain, including arthritis, headache and "body pain."
The proposed consent order prohibits the respondents from claiming that: consumption of any bee-pollen product cannot or will not result in an allergic reaction; bee-pollen products such as those advertised have been used to successfully treat allergy patients; or that Alpine Supreme Brand Arthritis-Strength Pain Relief or any substantially similar product is an effective analgesic. The proposed order also bars the respondents from making any of the above claims for any product or any claim that a product will have any effect on the user's health, unless they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the claims. The respondents are also required to send to each consumer who purchased bee pollen products a letter notifying them of the FTC order.
The proposed consent order also prohibits the respondents from making any commercial that misrepresents that it is an independent program and not a paid commercial. If the respondents produce any commercial in the next 10 years that runs 15 minutes or longer, they must display a notice informing consumers that the program is a paid advertisement. This disclosure must be made within the first 30 seconds of the commercial, and also immediately before each time ordering instructions are given for the product or service.
TV Inc. is based in Largo, Fla. The investigation was handled by the FTC's Cleveland Regional Office.
- FTC File No. 902-3037. FTC Docket No. C-3296. Decision, 113 FTC 677.
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.