ERSP is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation and is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The marketer’s advertising came to the attention of ERSP pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program.
ERSP reviewed online advertising claims for Garcinia Cambogia Allure and identified several claims for review, including:
- “Start losing the fat now!”
- “Helps stop fat production”
- “This clinically proven formula can melt off 8 lbs of fat every 7 days, flush out the junk in your body, and prevent your body from producing additional fat. And best of all, the product is completely natural.”
- “The science behind garcinia cambogia the power to lose weight! Clinical studies have demonstrated its potential as an effective and safe weight-loss method for reducing food intake and cholesterol while promoting healthy blood lipid levels.”
Many of the claims at issue in the inquiry originated from an advertorial which featured offers that redirected readers to the Garcinia Cambogia Allure website. Upon receipt of ERSP’s inquiry, the marketer indicated that, according to its research, the advertorial was created and used by an unknown independent contractor or affiliate working with an affiliate network. Mayfair indicated that it has contacted the affiliate network and demanded that it stop disseminating the advertisement and that the network reiterate to their affiliates that Mayfair strictly prohibits any false advertising.
During the course of the inquiry, the marketer made several voluntary changes to the claims featured on the website. Many of the claims originally listed in the Basis of Inquiry were discontinued and the remaining weight loss claims were mainly limited to those such as, “May Support Healthy Weight Loss … When used with a balanced diet and exercise.”
As support for weight loss claims, the marketer submitted outlines and summaries of numerous studies relating to the primary ingredient in Garcinia Cambogia Allure, hydroxycitric acid (HCA). After reviewing the evidence and considering previous self-regulatory cases, ERSP determined that the marketer’s weight loss claims are not supported by the evidence provided, and recommended that such claims be modified or discontinued in the context in which they currently appear.
Lastly, ERSP recommended that the “Billing Details” page be limited to only include the information pertinent to the subscription and monthly shipment program and that the marketer resolve the discrepancy between the presentation of the “Billing Details” information on the homepage and the order page.
The company, in its marketer’s statement, said, “Mayfair appreciates ERSP’s good work and role in promoting self-regulation … Mayfair provided competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the ‘May Support Healthy Weight Loss … When used with a balanced diet and exercise’ claim. Nevertheless, Mayfair has elected at the present time to no longer sell Garcinia Cambogia Allure or any HCA weight loss supplement.”