McCaskill Launches Deceptive-Ad Investigation

Sen. Claire McCaskill says she will investigate weight-loss scams, including holding a hearing on deceptive advertising, and wants media outlets to beef up their monitoring of such ads per a new FTC online resource.

That announcement came in the wake of a $34 million Federal Trade Commission settlement with four weight-loss product marketers over allegations of false and deceptive claims,

McCaskill (D-Mo.), who chairs the Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, said the investigation stemmed from that FTC crackdown, saying "I refuse to believe these fraudsters are the only ones out there. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg, and that’s why I’m calling on folks across Missouri to tell me their personal experiences with these types of scams, so we can raise the curtain on these deceptive practices, and rein them in..."

That was a reference to a "Submit Your Scam" button on her senate Web site McCaskill had created to her constituents can provide anecdotal evidence of such scams. She said that after collecting that info, she would hold a hearing in the first half of 2014.

McCaskill called on media outlets to quickly implement new guidelines for spotting deceptive claims. "By adhering to these new rules, media outlets will be able to protect their reputations and prevent harming their customers by running airing claims known to be false," her office said in a release.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.