Network Marketers – Beware of Using Celebrity Names… Prominent Individuals Have Sued

It is true that we only hear what we want to hear?  Apparently during one of Oprah’s shows she was discussing with Dr. Oz the benefits of the Acai berry. It was during this show that Oprah also warned marketing companies NOT to use her name as an endorsement for their individual company’s Acai berry products.

Some companies where also using Rachel Ray’s image and name to promote the Acai Berry products. Network Marketers you need to beware of using celebrity names, prominent individuals have sued.

The following statement’s were in an Associated Press article not long ago:

Winfrey and the doctor, who is a frequent guest on her talk show, say the public is being deceived into thinking the two have endorsed products like acai (AH-sah-ee) berry, a fruit touted as a miracle weight loss supplement.

And a note from Dr. Oz:

"Defendants are fabricating quotes or falsely purporting to speak in Dr. Oz’s and/or Ms. Winfrey’s voice about specific brands and products that neither of them has endorsed," the complaint reads.

Oz spoke exclusively to "Good Morning America" against the claims that marketers have allegedly made with his name, calling them "hurtful." "Many Americans have seen images of me, and Oprah and others supporting, it would appear, products that actually don’t work in the ways that are described," Oz said. "And more importantly, when consumers trusting us try to buy these products over the Web, what they end up getting are fake products, pills that don’t really have what’s promised in them. They’re often duped into paying more than they should. If my picture is next to a product, endorsing it and supporting your purchase of it, I did not give them permission."

On August 19/2009 a lawsuit against MonaVie; a premier manufacturer of energy drinks and nutritionals was filed a United States District Court. The suit also named over 40 companies promoting the Acai berry products for prohibited use of their trademarks, names and images.  MonaVie has announced recently that the lawsuit has been resolved harmoniously.

It was alleged that several companies were making illegal and improper health claims, amongst them cures for cancer and promising weight loss with the use of these products. The biggest kicker was offering free trials of the acai products and then billing the customers for shipping and handling fees; which they billed to the customer’s credit cards without permission.

MonaVie was named in the lawsuit for incidents involving unapproved distributor websites and social networking sites—all of which are now currently non-operational or shut down.

MonaVie offered this statement:

“At MonaVie we do not condone the unauthorized use of Oprah Winfrey’s and Dr. Oz’s names, images and trademarks and regret that consumers were misled in any way by others,” says MonaVie President, Dell Brown. “As a first time player in the acai nutritional beverage category, we too have experienced frustration at seeing our own trademarks and licenses misused.

In an agreement among the companies, MonaVie will take every reasonable action to prevent independent distributors from using the names, images or trademarks of Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz without permission to advertise their businesses. Any distributor who is found in violation of this agreement will be subject to steep penalties including, but not limited to, the withholding of commissions. In connection with the resolution of the lawsuit, MonaVie has agreed to enter into a stipulated court approved injunction to be filed in the case which addresses the claims made in the lawsuit. Under the injunction, MonaVie is agreeing not to use without permission Oprah Winfrey’s or Dr. Oz’s names, images, or trademarks in any future advertising.

August 19, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan:

……urged consumers to be cautious of signing up for free trials of acai berry products. Madigan filed consumer fraud lawsuits against three suppliers and a local affiliate marketer of acai berry products charging that the companies lure customers with free trial offers – through aggressive Internet marketing techniques – and then charge customers’ credit cards prematurely, do not always supply the product and make it nearly impossible to cancel.

“We must hold these Internet scammers accountable for their role in a seedy marketing game that steers unsuspecting consumers to online schemes,” Madigan said. “We also need to send a clear message to other marketers and networks in the business of designing misleading, traffic enticing schemes.”

 

It is really truly unfortunate that there is so much misleading information on the internet.  The thing is that the marketers of the Acai berry are not the only network marketing companies that are stooping to these tactics. Again most unfortunate that much of this flies under the radar of Attorney General offices.

When this sort of behaviour does occur it is important to get the word out so others do not get caught in the scam.

Of importance here is to note that marketers really need to stop and read their companies policies and procedures…the contract, the agreement, whatever you chose to call it, it is a legally binding contract. The distributors who were caught in this deceptive marketing techniques would have seen that they could not be making product claims or design unauthorized websites to promote their products, if they had taken the time to read their agreement.  I have not found any company’s contract yet that does permit a distributor to be making claims of curing diseases and other health claims.

A few bad apples do spoil the lot.  This hurts all of us who are in this industry. Network marketing is a great industry, please stop giving it a bad name. Be careful what you claim.  It may be the very thing that has your company shut down.

To Your Success

Dave and Darlene Mills
Leadership with a vision

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Dave and Darlene Mills

Welcome and thank you for visiting our blog. We are Mentors with "Mentoring for Free". A community of volunteers who believe in the value of education, personal development, and in sharing what we know that works to build a solid online business. We use this system to build our business and can be used with any MLM/Network Marketing company. We devote much of our time mentoring ANYONE in ANY company to build THEIR personae so they too acquire the skills they need to be successful. We will be more than glad to give you 100% of our effort and support. Today, Life is Grand!! We will never look back!! Darlene and Dave Mills "Be a Mentor With a Servant's Heart"

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