FTC Not Acting on CRN Complaint Against ConsumerLab.comFTC Not Acting on CRN Complaint Against ConsumerLab.com
March 17, 2005
WASHINGTON--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) informed the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) March 15 that it is not taking action on a complaint the association filed in January against ConsumerLab.com. CRN had alleged ConsumerLab.com's business model represented an egregious form of consumer fraud and pressured companies into participating in testing programs. (For more on the original complaint, click here.)
In its deferral, Mary K. Engel, an associate director with FTC (www.ftc.gov), said the agency considers several factors in determining whether to take action in any situation, including the type of violation, the nature of consumer injury and the likelihood of preventing future unlawful conduct. "After reviewing the complaint and related materials, [our] staff is not recommending agency action at this time," she wrote. "The Commission reserves the right, however, to take such further action as the public interest may require."
Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of ConsumerLab.com, said it was pleased with the agency's decision. "We are glad that the FTC has exposed this trade group's actions as no more than a baseless smear campaign intended to discredit our findings and silence an independent voice," he said. "Rather than shoot the messenger, it is time that this group heed the message that consumers deserve to know what is in, or not in, the supplements that they take." In addition, Cooperman said his company plans to take legal action against CRN and its executives for the "malicious campaign" and "defamatory attack."
For its part, Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., president of CRN (www.crnusa.org), said, "CRN is disappointed that FTC thus far has failed to take action on our complaint. We stand by the facts set forth in our complaint, and we remain convinced that FTC should look closely at the business activities of ConsumerLab.com."
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