Nevada-based Health Center, Inc. (HCI) and its owner Peggy Pearce agreed to halt their allegedly deceptive advertising claims about three “cure-all” health and wellness products that targeted older consumers nationwide, pursuant to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The stipulated court order settling the FTC’s complaint prohibits the defendants from such deceptive conduct and imposes a partially suspended monetary judgment.
“This company told older adults that its products could treat nearly any disease or health condition—but that was not true,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When bogus claims put people’s money and health at risk, the FTC will hold companies accountable for their deception.”
According to the FTC’s complaint, HCI advertised and sold three products through telemarketing calls and its websites. The defendants pitched Rejuvi-Cell, a purportedly homeopathic oral spray, as containing human growth hormone. Rejuvi-Sea, sold in caplet form, was marketed as containing marine phytoplankton. Rejuvi-Stem, sold in tablet form, was described as a “stem cell recruiter” that enhances, releases, and recruits adult stem cells so they can migrate to parts of the body where needed most.
The complaint alleges the defendants advertised that Rejuvi-Cell, Rejuvi-Sea, and Rejuvi-Stem could treat or cure a wide range of serious diseases and health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and depression, without having the scientific evidence to back up their claims. The complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely claimed that Rejuvi-Cell contained human growth hormone, when it actually only contained pig growth hormone.
The FTC’s complaint also alleges the defendants’ advertisements contained fake consumer testimonials in which HCI employees provided positive product reviews. Finally, the complaint alleges violations of the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, which prohibits telemarketers from misrepresenting material aspects of the performance or efficacy of products or services offered for sale.
The proposed order settling the FTC’s complaint prohibits the defendants from engaging in the alleged deceptive conduct and imposes an $8.62 million judgment, which will be partially suspended after they pay the FTC $5,000. If the defendants are later found to have misrepresented their financial condition to the Commission, the full judgment will immediately become due.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and proposed order was 5-0. The FTC filed the complaint and proposed order in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the named defendants are violating or are about to violate the law and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
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