BBB National Programs Archive
NAD Reviews Performance Claims, Endorsements, Reviews for Fit Products ‘Fit Tea;’ Recommends Company Discontinue Challenged Claims
New York, NY – Jan. 17, 2017 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Fit Products, LLC., discontinue claims that its FitTea either “boosts energy” or “supports metabolism.”
NAD also cautioned the advertiser on the placement of paid endorsements adjacent to unpaid consumer reviews.
NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
As part of its ongoing monitoring program, NAD requested the company to provide its substantiation for express claims and claims made in testimonials, including:
- “Boost Energy, Boost Immunity, Boost Metabolism, Burn Fat.”
- Endorsements and Testimonial Claims:
- “FitTea is amazing! I drink my tea when I get up in the morning to start my day off with my diet. I feel great! It curbed my appetite. This tea is amazing! It does everything and more.”
- “I’ve been drinking tea for a week and it really has helped, bloating has gone away, really helped with my regularity… if you know what I mean! But also did notice a boost of energy!! Would recommend this product to friends!”
- “Guys thank you so much! I’ve been seeing a drastic weight loss thanks to y’all. I’m so happy with the tea. I’ve been quite depressed about my weight and then bam there’s your tea. It’s fantastic. I love it. I can’t thank you enough.”
- “I started using FitTea over a year and a half ago. I initially purchased it as a detox and used it faithfully every day. It was amazing! It did everything it said and more, it curbed my appetite, last month I found out that it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, that was incredible. During the period of time that I have been buying FitTea it has become my best friend. I drink a cup every morning when I get up. Best purchase that actually does what it proposes.”
At the outset, the advertiser said it would voluntarily discontinue claims that the product “boosts immunity” and “burns fat” and modify the claim “boosts metabolism.” NAD noted that it will treat the discontinued and modified claims, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.
NAD reviewed the advertiser’s “boosts energy” and its modified “supports metabolism” claims against the advertising support provided. NAD noted in its decision that while research on green tea is promising and indicates that green tea extract may aid in fat oxidation, the effect of green tea – specifically its catechin extracts including EGCG – and caffeine on weight loss and/weight maintenance is inconsistent and inconclusive.
In this case, though, NAD did not reach the issue of whether the research on green tea catechins and caffeine could support the advertiser’s modified claims because the advertiser failed to provide reliable information on the exact quantity of catechins and caffeine in FitTea. Without the results of reliable testing, NAD was unable to evaluate whether the evidence would be a good fit for the claims.
Following its review, NAD recommended the advertiser discontinue its “boosts energy” and “supports metabolism” claims. NAD also recommended that the advertiser discontinue posting customer testimonials which make the same claims it has agreed to discontinue. NAD further cautioned Fit Products to ensure that its paid endorsers avoid conveying messages for which the advertiser lacks support to refrain from reposting on its webpage testimonials that make claims for which the advertiser lacks support.
Finally, NAD concluded that the advertiser’s use of product reviews on its website was not misleading because Fit Products demonstrated that it collects product reviews in a systematic way, that it posts all product reviews to its website, and that it collects product reviews from a representative sample of consumers who purchase the product. However, NAD advised the advertiser to separate its endorsements and testimonials from its product reviews and prominently disclose that the reviews on its website are authentic user reviews and that Fit Products does not edit those reviews.
The company, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while it disagreed with certain of NAD’s findings, it “accepts and agrees to comply with NAD’s recommendations. We appreciate and applaud NAD for its continuing efforts in its non-governmental approach to resolving disagreements about substantiation and to educate the food and dietary supplement industries about the responsibilities of advertisers in the new and emerging world of Social Media, especially with respect to endorsements and testimonials.”
Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.