The Federal Trade Commission is charging the sellers of the “Centro Natural de Salud Obesity Treatment” with making false and unsubstantiated claims that their product causes rapid, substantial, and permanent weight loss. The “treatment” consists of three different pills, taken with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a bar of “special soap” to “reduce dress sizes.”
According to the FTC’s complaint, in Spanish-language infomercials and on the Internet the marketers made claims, such as:
“Lose 35 pounds in 2 months”
“Everything you lose, you will never gain back”
“No diets, no skipping dinner, no calorie counting, no side effects”
The defendants, Centro Natural Services, Inc., Xavier Rodriguez, and Rocio Diaz are located in Santa Ana, California. The complaint charges they falsely claimed the Centro Natural de Salud Obesity Treatment causes users: to lose substantial amounts of weight rapidly, without reducing calorie intake; safely to lose as much as a half pound per day for multiple weeks and months; and/or to lose weight permanently. The complaint also charges the defendants had no substantiation for their weight-loss claims.
The FTC is asking the court to order a halt to the defendants’ claims pending trial. It will seek a permanent halt to their operation, and redress for consumers.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 5-0. The complaint was filed October 16, 2006 in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.
Copies of the complaint are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to thousands of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FTC’s Western Region, San Francisco