FTC Sues Marketers Who Used Gag Clauses, Monetary Threats, and Lawsuits to Stop Negative Consumer Reviews for Unproven Weight-Loss Products

The FTC is suing Florida-based weight-loss supplement marketers who allegedly made baseless claims for their products, and then threatened to enforce “gag clause” provisions against consumers to stop them from posting negative reviews an'd testimonials online.  Although the FTC has gone to court hundreds of times to stop allegedly misleading weight loss claims, the FTC'’s complaint against Roca Labs, Inc. and related defendants includes a first-ever count challenging the defendants'’ use of consumer gag clauses as an unfair practice.  In particular, the FTC alleges that the defendants have sued and threatened to sue consumers who shared their negative experiences online or complained to the Better Business Bureau, stating that the consumers violated the non-disparagement provisions of the “'Terms and Conditions”' they supposedly agreed to when they bought the products. The FTC alleges that these gag clause provisions, and the defendants'’ related warnings, threats, and lawsuits, harm consumers by unfairly barring purchasers from sharing truthful, negative comments about the defendants and their products.