ERSP Refers 7-Day Miracle Cleanse Infomercial to FTC
The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate claims made in a 30-minute infomercial for the 7-Day Miracle Cleanse. The infomercial's core representations included:
- "[Infomercial spokesman and product inventor Paris A. DeAguero is the] ... healthiest man alive.?
- ?You can look and feel 10 to 20 years younger than your age; have perfect cholesterol; perfect body weight; and consistent bowel eliminations. A body immune to all sickness.”
- ?The average person will lose 10-20 pounds or more in just 7 days?
- ?Within 7 days on my first program...my skin cancer sores had scabbed over. Within 14 days they had healed completely."
The infomercial came to the ERSP's attention through its own monitoring and a challenge by Dr. Stephen Barrett. Although directly contacted by telephone, the product's marketer failed to respond to the ERSP?s request for substantiation. In January 2005, the ERSP published the following report and asked the FTC to take action.
7-DAY MIRACLE CLEANSE, INC.
7-Day Miracle Cleanse Dietary Supplement and Program
BASIS OF INQUIRY
Direct response advertising by 7-Day Miracle Cleanse, Inc. (“7-Day Miracle Cleanse”) for its diet program and collection of herbal products came to the attention of the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (“ERSP”) pursuant to both its monitoring program as well as a consumer complaint. The thirty-minute infomercial featured the following core claims for which ERSP requested substantiation:
General Health Claims
- “You can look and feel 10 to 20 years younger than your age; have perfect cholesterol; perfect body weight; and consistent bowel eliminations. A body immune to all sickness.”
- “7 Day Miracle Cure program has eliminated all types of constipation as well as other bowel dysfunctions including irritable bowel syndrome.”
- “The 7 Day Miracle Cure can extend your life 10, 20, 30 years or more.”
- “Women who had completed just one 7 day program and add fresh vegetable juices to their diet state that PMS is a thing of the past.”
- “Clinically proven to eliminate parasites and worms.” “Parasene 2 is most effective of its kind.”
- Herbal Mucous Eliminator- “tested all similar products around...HME is superior.”
Weight –Loss Claims
- “The average person will lose 10-20 pounds or more in just 7 days.”
- “There is no better system than the 7 Day Miracle Cure for losing weight faster, healthier, or more naturally without harmful chemicals or side effects.”
- “You can eliminate this puff (flat stomach) in just 7 days and I guarantee it.” “No need to wait for a flat stomach any longer.”
- Story of skin and breast cancer: started first 7 day detoxification and the pain in the tumor vanished. “Within 7 days on my first program...my skin cancer sores had scabbed over. Within 14 days they had healed completely.”
ERSP used its best efforts to contact the Marketer which included mailing the opening letter to the Marketer’s last known address and attempting to call the Marketer at its last known listed telephone number. ERSP also contacted the fulfillment company last used by 7-Day Miracle Cleanse to process its orders in an effort to locate the Marketer. After its initial attempts were unsuccessful, ERSP was finally able to contact the Marketer by telephone and the Marketer indicated that it would not respond to the self-regulatory inquiry.
An advertiser must be prepared to substantiate any claim that it makes before public dissemination of the advertisement. Although ERSP could not locate the marketer responsible for the subject direct response advertisement, it has independently confirmed that this infomercial has not aired for several months. Pursuant to its ongoing monitoring program, ERSP will use its best efforts to assure that this infomercial will not run again.
ERSP initially contacted the marketer on December 9, 2004 requesting substantiation for above stated claims. However, the marketer failed to provide any substantiating information in response to NAD’s inquiry within 15 business days as mandated by the ERSP Procedures. ERSP was able to speak with the marketer’s fulfillment company, and the company alleged that 7-Day Miracle Cleanse was in breach of its fulfillment contract but it did not have a current mailing address or telephone number for the marketer. After several subsequent attempts, ERSP spoke with the Marketer and it indicated that it would not submit a response to the self-regulatory inquiry.
On January 12, 2005, pursuant to section 2.6(B) of the ERSP Procedures, a second attempt was made by ERSP to contact the marketer. Because the marketer has again failed to provide a substantial written response within 10 days from the mailing, ERSP has referred this inquiry to the Federal Trade Commission.
Copyright 2005. Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. Reproduced with permission. For other such reports, click here.
This article was posted on March 1, 2005.