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Illinois, Oprah pursue acai scammers

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

The Illinois attorney general's office files consumer fraud lawsuits against three acai berry product suppliers and an affiliate marketer for "using misleading sales tactics to scam consumers." Additionally, Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Inc. and Dr. Mehmet Oz filed suit against 40 Internet supplement marketers for trademark infringement. Winfrey and Oz tout the health benefits of acai and red wine-based resveratrol but do not endorse specific products, as suggested by marketers. The Illinois AG's complaints, filed Aug. 19 in the Circuit Court of Cook County, name Netalab, Crush LLC, Amirouche & Norton LLC and others who use a "free trial" hook to lure consumers into continuity programs that are difficult to cancel. The Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on Web sites using "negative-option" marketing and making unrealistic weight-loss claims for acai supplements (1"The Tan Sheet" March 30, 2009)

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