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Seller Beware!

At his blog on Complementary and Alternative Medicine law, Attorney Michael Cohen notes a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruling that makesGroup of elderly people with their mouths covered, looking up at the manufacturer liable for false and misleading claims if a blogger sings the praises of a product. Online endorsements by consumers of a product require special disclosures from the manufacturer to avoid liability for false claims. Anyone who values access to unbiased information should note the attacks on scientific free speech, implicit in this FTC ruling.

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15 thoughts on “Seller Beware!

  • Steve O'Neal

    You should have said,” Anyone who values his right to voice an opinion…” This is so obviously an attack on forums for public opinion. The totalitarians running or attempting to run elected governments are threatened by ANY public access to uncontrolled and/or unedited expression of ideas not wholly their own. First, they made blog hosts responsible for statements made by posters-now this. They are killing blogs so that we will have nowhere to speak out-about ANYTHING. Sure, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not the freedom to express it. All this from the very political hypocrites who used to scream bloody murder if anyone ELSE looked crosseyed at the !st Amendment.

  • I was attacked by the FTC for making “false and misleading claims” for cancer cures. I responded that my readers are required by the terms of use of my website to waive their rights to the protection of government, thus destroying governments power to regulate me. When the smoke cleared, all that was left was my right to freedom of speech. They could not control me and left me alone. To see what I have done, see http://www.hidden-cancer-cures.com/pops/terms-of-use.htm. You can see the FTC letter and my response at http://www.hidden-cancer-cures.com/Articles6/Ftc-attack-upon-this-website.htm.

    • Tracy

      Please post this everywhere. I am going to copy and post this message and email it to natural health provider associations of all kinds – as to how to require your posters and patients to waive their rights to government protection from false advertising. This is the exact correct and direct solution. The government claims to be protecting me from deceiving information when I visit a health-related website. Therefore if I waive my right, need, or want of that protection I am taking full and knowing responsibility for falling victim to resultant misleading information I obtain from the site. In other words, “Read my lips government, I do not need or want your protection from this site from which I choose to seek scientific information or personal experiences from patients. I know some of them are fake and I don’t some are not fake. I am a grown up and can decide for myself, thank you. It is your pharmaceutical drug pushing that I need protection from! “

  • Jim Lane

    This new ruling by the FTC is OUTRAGEOUS! How long are we the American people going to put up with the FTC and the FDA doing the bidding of big pharma?

  • Val

    Re Seller Beware!
    It is not just the Seller, ofcourse, but ALL OF US to be aware of what has happened to OUR LIBERTIES. We must fight to get them back, and prevent any further loss of – OUR INALIENABLE RIGHTS.
    Here is a worthy, FREEDOM Loving Organization, helping to preserve The CONSTITUTION. As more of our voices should be heard, – I think we should get behind them:

  • S S

    I think any consumer should be able to “sing the praises” of a product without making the manufacturer liable for false and misleading claims.
    This is similar to the FDA’s rule that doctors aren’t allowed to talk about the health benefits of various foods. Both of these rules are ridiculous.

  • john

    The above statement is mis-leading. I read the post on Michael Cohen’s website.
    Essentially, a manufacturer/seller would have to FIRST participate in a paid blog advertising service. Within the service, if the blogger writes about the product, then both the advertiser and the blogger can be held liable for un-substantiated health claims. This is an outrageous attack on freedom of expression for natural herbal medicines.
    Through Mr. Cohen’s post I understand that there is no liability for the manufacturer if an independent non-paid blogger writes about the health benefits of a product. So, if a customer who purchases a product and has a blog and writes a positive review about its’ health benefits, then neither the manufacturer and blogger is liable?
    Of course, there are many health related blogs which accept paid advertising. It looks like the FTC ruling will place these blogs out of business and restrict free speech.
    However, I believe bloggers could continue their free speech if they incorporate their company and blogs in a foreign country. I know one popular health blog that is incorporated abroad and they freely write about any natural product.
    Any comments or ideas?

    • Ann

      I don’t see them very far away, though, from attacking any blogger who wants to talk about health and nutrition and such. What if a blogger wants to link to something on an alternative health site? Now that blogger has just let her audience have access not only to that article–but to everything that that health site talks about. So isn’t the blogger in effect helping people learn more about their health and healthy life style? That through linking her viewers with that web site, she just gave them the means to find out more about alternative healthcare? She doesn’t allow advertising on her site–but say the site she linked to does. Does that make her liable then to be attacked? This is what I am extremely worried about, that the FTC and FDA will go after anyone who wants to spread the word about natural health and natural healing remedies.

  • taja

    that is crazy! how about doing the same standards for prescription medications? those dont do anything they say , they make people more sick! outraged! they say right on the natural bottles this is not intended to diagnose treat or cure any disease, why isnt that enough? cant you put the same claims on the websties?

  • I just had a look at the new guidelines: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm. It looks innocent enough as far as “protecting consumers.” What is suspicious is that these new guidelines ride on the heels of the recent supreme court ruling that corporations can make unlimited contributions to political elections. That ruling rode on the heels of another supreme court ruling: “Falsifying news is not against the law.”
    At first glance, it looks like it might protect consumers from people who get deep discounts or gifts to endorse products, say like on Amazon, for example. But when we think about it, there are many people doing that, 1000’s if not millions. The FTC doesn’t have the manpower to keep up with that activity. Under what auspices were these new guidelines created and what makes the FTC think they can nab every endorser and advertiser who participates in this quid pro quo activity?
    This new guideline smells more like false flag “sniper” activity where certain holistic products pose the greatest threat to big pharma and other greedy industries. The best that the FTC can do with their new guidelines is go after “examples.” The “examples” will suffer hardships from FTC attacks. If you notice in the guidelines, there is nothing against the law about being a paid finger pointer or whistle blower.
    These greedy sons of a monkey’s butt want to turn every U.S. citizen against each other; they’re out to destroy this country. I smell a clear and present danger with imminent lawless action.

  • Jodee

    Foreign incorporation may work for a while, but it’s only a matter of time (and not much) before these types of rules will be international. One Worlders, et al going to try to cover all the bases and I’m fairly sure they won’t miss this one.
    I think I shall have to punch squarely in the nose the very next person who says to me:” It’s a free country…”

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