The Federal Trade Commission has agreed to settle charges with the marketers of a line of tea and skin-care products who made unsubstantiated claims that their products would help consumers lose weight and fight cancer. The FTC also said Teami also did not adequately disclose payments to social media influencers who promoted the products.
In a statement, the FTC said Teami, and its owners, Adi Halevy and Yogev Malul, claimed “without reliable scientific evidence” that their Teami 30 Day Detox Pack would also help consumers, “clear clogged arteries, decrease migraines, treat and prevent flus, and treat colds.”
The FTC also sent warning letters to the 10 influencers it alleged did not make adequate disclosures in social media posts. “You were paid by Teami, LLC (“Teami”) to create this post,” the letters say. “When you endorse a product on social media, you should make obvious your financial or other relationship with the brand by clearly and conspicuously disclosing any material connection in the same post that you make the endorsement.”
Readers of the posts could not see the disclosure that the endorsements were paid-for unless they clicked through a “more” link.
The FTC said Teami’s deceptive influencer practices continued despite a warning letter in April 2018.
The influencers highlighted in the complaint include rapper Cardi B and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks.
A judgement of $15.2 million was imposed on the defendants, but that judgement would be suspended if the defendants pay $1 million.
The $15.2 million figure represents total sales from the “challenged” tea and skin-care products.
The defendants say they are unable to pay the full judgement.
“Social media is full of people peddling so-called detox teas promising weight loss,” Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said. “Companies need to back up health claims with credible science and ensure influencers prominently disclose that they’re getting paid to promote a product.”