Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website for the well-heeled, is forking over $145,000 and agreeing to a five-year injunction for allegedly stretching the truth about Rose Quartz Eggs, Jade Eggs, and Inner Judge Flower Essence Blends products. The site supposedly promised that the $66 stones boosted libidos and positive energy. But the claims raised a collective eyebrow of a consumer advocacy group. Eventually, Californian regulators joined the investigation. In the end, Goop agreed to a fine.
The case is a reminder that “unfair and deceptive” marketing standards do apply, and failing to follow them could land you in legal trouble.
Details of The Goop Unfair and Deceptive Marketing Case
A consumer advocacy group called Truth in Advertising led the charge against Goop’s “stone energy egg” line. In a statement, a spokesperson explained:
“For far too long Paltrow and Goop have been taking advantage of susceptible consumers by using deceptive and misleading health claims to sell their wares and turn a profit. This settlement makes clear that no health and wellness company is above the law, and that Goop’s past illegal marketing tactics will no longer be tolerated.”
Ultimately, the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force opened a case and approached Goop with the charges. Ostensibly after discussions, the parties reached a settlement, and Goop is:
- Not admitting wrongdoing;
- Offering refunds to unsatisfied customers; and
- Paying a fine.
The lifestyle brand has also promised not to represent that “goods or services have sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses or benefits which they do not have.”
For its part, Goop denies receiving any customer complaints related to the products and chalks the whole thing up to “an honest disagreement.”
Do You Know The FTC’s Marketing Rules?
The Federal Trade Commission and state authorities have a buffet of promotional rules that must be followed. For example, brands can be severely fined for failing to:
- Disclose social media ads by using #ad, #paid, or #sponsored hashtags;
- Insist that social media influencers use proper disclosures in their posts;
- Keep supporting documentation and evidence for any health or medical claims made in promotional materials.
- Use acceptable e-commerce checkout procedures that don’t feature negative option trickery.
- Follow truth-in-advertising standards.
Click here for a more comprehensive list of FTC marketing Dos and Don’ts.
Connect With an FTC Defense Lawyer
Has the Federal Trade Commission sent you a letter? If so, we’re here to help. Our team has guided countless businesses and entrepreneurs through FTC inquiries and trials, always securing the best possible outcome for the situation.
We also offer marketing audits and consultations to ensure your promotional practices square with international, federal, state, and local regulations.
Don’t wait. Ignoring issues don’t make them disappear. And above all, don’t panic. Just because the FTC opens an investigation doesn’t mean the commission automatically wins. In fact, just recently, it lost a high profile “unfair and deceptive marketing” case. (link).
Get in touch today to begin the conversation. We’re here to walk you through it, step by step.
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