2 businesses told to halt deceptive practices
Two Connecticut businesses were among those to receive a notice in the recent round of cease-and-desist letters, ordering companies to stop making claims regarding treatment, prevention or financial benefits related to COVID-19, a federal commission announced Wednesday.
The Federal Trade Commission sent its 11th set of warning letters to more than 20 companies across the United States, warning them to stop making these claims within 48 hours of receiving the letters. The commission also sent its third round of letters to multi-level marketing companies telling them to “remove and address” claims about the treatment, prevention, or about the earnings people who recently lost income can make.
Violators could face fines of up to $43,792 per infraction, according to a news release sent Wednesday.
The two Connecticut businesses are Sava Holistic Health in East Hampton and Family First Life in Uncasville.
Overall, the federal commission has sent warnings to more than 400 companies. Last year, Congress passed the COVID-19 Consumer
Protection Act that makes it illegal for any businesses to engage in deceptive practices regarding products related to the treatment, cure, prevention, mitigation, or diagnosis of COVID-19.
Some companies have claimed that “imprinted filtered water,” “nasal irrigation” and seaweed extract can help fight the coronavirus, the release said.
“However, currently there is no scientific evidence that any of these products can prevent or treat COVID-19 generally or any specific variant,” the commission’s news release said.
Family First’s letter went out Dec. 27. The federal commission says the company made misleading claims on social media regarding potential earnings.
“We have determined that Family First Life is unlawfully misrepresenting that consumers who become Family First Life business opportunity participants are likely to earn substantial income,” the letter reads.
The posts include claims that people who were financially affected by the pandemic began earning upward of $40,000 per month through Family First, the letter alleges.
Sava Holistic Health’s website and social media posts were “unlawfully advertising,” that certain supplements and tinctures could help treat or prevent COVID-19, according to the letter. A set of four tinctures labeled “Coronavirus: Complete Set of 4 Tinctures” was listed for $500, and the website advertised they should “only be used if you have this virus,” the Sept. 22 letter says.
The link to the tinctures included in the letter was not functional Wednesday.
Sava Holistic also posted on social media, with references to the coronavirus, about supplements to take to prepare for “Viral season,” the letter alleges.
Neither Connecticut company responded to requests for comment.
“Americans are still suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic, and scammers are still taking advantage of them by making false claims about cures and treatments,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our efforts to stamp out those claims will continue in 2022, and any marketers not heeding our cease-and-desist demands can expect to face consequences, including civil penalties”