Ridiculously expensive gadgets for the filthy rich

Ridiculously expensive gadgets for the filthy rich

Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich

Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich

The FTC has determined its first ever case against defendants for falsely promoting weight loss products with fake Amazon reviews .
Image: Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images

The U.S. government is taking on fake Amazon reviews.

On Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had reached a settlement in the agency’s first ever case against fraudulent Amazon reviews.

In the FTC’s objection , it claimed that defendant Cure Encapsulations, Inc. and the company’s owner, Naftula Jacobowitz, paid a third-party website called “amazonverifiedreviews.com” to post fake reviews for its weight loss supplement on Amazon. Along with the falsified reviews purporting to be from actual clients, the FTC also alleged that the company built “false and unsubstantiated claims” for the pills known as Quality Encapsulations Garcinia Cambogia.

Garcinia cambogia is a tropical fruit found in Indonesia that has been used as a natural aid for weight loss. As The Verge points out, use of the herbal supplement has associated with acute liver failing .

“People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online, ” said director of the commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection Andrew Smith in a statement. “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”

According to the FTC, Jacobowitz had paid the fake Amazon review seller $ 1,000 for 30 reviews in order to bump the product’s ratings. The defendant claimed that at least a 4.3 out of 5 stars was needed in order to construct sales.

“Please make my product … stay a five starring, ” the FTC says the defendant wrote in an email to the review provider.

In the reviews and on the product description, Cure Encapsulations fabricated asserts about the supplement. The defendant stated that the product “Literally BLOCKS FAT From Forming” and caused “significant weight loss.”

As part of the settlement with the FTC, the defendant is banned from “making weight-loss, fat-blocking, or disease-treatment claims for dietary supplements, food, or drugs, unless they have reliable scientific proof from clinical trials in humans.” The company must also inform its customers of the allegations and tell Amazon which reviews were faked.

The settlement includes a penalty of $12.8 million. Cure Encapsulations will immediately pay $50,000 to the FTC and the remainder will be dependent on how much fund the company has based on hand in the event it misrepresented its financials.

Fake, paid Amazon reviews have long been a scourge to the e-commerce giant. In recent years, Amazon has decided to go so far as suing fake reviewers and review-selling websites.

However, the problem doesn’t seem to be going away.

Just last month, Facebook employees were caught leaving 5 star reviews for its video conferencing device, Facebook portal. While not quite the same as paying for ratings from individuals who never even employed the product, Amazon’s reviews are clearly intended for customers who purchased the product. In fact, according to Amazon, offering compensation for a review or reviewing your own products is a violation of its terms.

This first of its kind FTC case on fake Amazon reviews will likely not be its last.

UPDATE: Feb. 27, 2019, 1:37 p.m. EST An Amazon spokesperson provided the following statement to Mashable regarding such FTC case :

We welcome the FTC’s work in this area. Amazon expends significant resources to protect the integrity of reviews in our store because we know clients value the insights and experiences shared by fellow shoppers. Even one inauthentic review is one too many. We have clear participation guidelines for both reviewers and selling partners and we suspend, prohibition, and take legal action on those who violate our policies .

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Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich
Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich
Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich
Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich
Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich

Ridiculously Expensive Gadgets For The Filthy Rich

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