The supplements were marketing primarily via digital platforms.
“Parents of children with speech disorders need accurate information about products that may be able to help,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection. “This company took advantage of parents’ trust.”
The FTC said the company claimed that the products, costing more than $70 per bottle, could even work on speech issues associated with autism.
The FTC said, “Since at least 2008, NourishLife, LLC and its owner, Mark Nottoli, have sold Speak softgels and capsules and Speak Smooth liquid children’s supplements online and through a network of distributors for more than $70 per bottle. The supplements — which contain Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and Vitamins E and K — were advertised via the Internet, including search engine ads such as Google sponsored links and on websites, and at conferences on autism spectrum disorders.”
Here are some of the claims made:
“Speak vitamins have made my little boy talk. He is five years old and has not spoken until I began giving him the vitamins.”
“We were really amazed when Ben started singing along with a song on the radio . . . . and he was singing 3+ word phrases, not just one word here & there.”
The FTC said the company claimed “…that the supplements develop and maintain normal, healthy speech and language capabilities in children, including those with verbal apraxia — a motor speech disorder affecting the ability to utter sounds, syllables, and words.
These ads, the complaint asserts, also falsely claimed that Speak products are scientifically proven to improve children’s speech. In addition, the complaint charges that ads for Speak products deceptively claimed that the supplements are effective in treating or mitigating verbal apraxia and communication and behavioral difficulties in children with an autism spectrum disorder.”
The company was on the hook for $3.68M but is only being hit with a $200K penalty based on the company’s inability to pay the higher figure.
RBR-TVBR observation: No cats were harmed during the production of this article. However, it is raining cats and dogs here and Ace the Cat is suffering from a serious case of cabin fever. He expressed his frustration with this situation by leaping on to my desk, blocking my view of the screen and threatening to remove various items and implements from the desk’s surface. So if you find any typos or other mistakes, please blame them on Ace, thank you very much.