2016-02-12 / In the Know

Trade commision, AG move to halt sale and marketing of weight loss products

AUGUSTA – Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills and the Federal Trade Commission have acted to halt the sale and marketing of weight-loss pills AF Plus and Final Trim and other dietary supplements sold by Direct Alternatives and other companies owned by Anthony and Staci Dill of Scarborough. The federal court complaint details deceptive practices by the Dills’ companies in advertising weight-loss products and charging consumers for unauthorized products and services, in violation of state and federal law. The Dills agreed to a settlement with the state of Maine and the FTC, which has now been signed by a federal judge.

“This company preyed on the vulnerability of consumers who seek a legitimate weight loss program,” said Mills. “The conduct here is not limited to making false claims about their products; it also includes charging consumers hundreds of dollars in automatic monthly orders and making it very difficult for customers to cancel orders or get their money back. The Maine Attorney General’s Office is grateful to the FTC for the resources and assistance it brought to this case.”

One radio ad for the company’s products claimed: “With the metabolism-boosting benefits of AF Plus, you can keep eating your favorite foods and still lose pounds and inches – in fact we guarantee it.” Other ads claimed consumers would “experience maximum weight loss – pounds in days.” Ads stated that these claims were “proven” but in fact they lacked scientific support.

The settlement permanently enjoins the Dills from engaging in practices in the future and requires them to forfeit some of their ill-gotten gains. This case is the first joint enforcement action that the state of Maine has brought with the Federal Trade Commission for violations of state and federal law. On Jan. 15, 2016 FTC commissioners voted in favor of filing the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine.

Text provided by Maine Attorney General’s office.

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