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Vital Basics Settles with FTC

The marketers of dietary supplements "V Factor" and "Focus Factor" have settled with the Federal Trade Commission to the tune of $1 million and agreed to stop certain marketing practices on TV, radio and the Internet, particularly failing to identify its infomercials as paid advertisements.

The company has agreed to make copies of its ads available to the FTC for up to five years after they air.

The settlement means that Vital Basics Inc. and principals Robert B. Graham and Michael B. Shane don't have to admit wrongdoing, but they do have to start clearly labeling their long-form ads as infomercials. They must also stop making a host of claims for their products, including that they help improve focus, memory, concentration, academic performance, energy level and various others claims, including that they are safe, unless the company has some scientific evidence to back up the claims.

Broadcast and Cable outlets should be on notice that any ad for these products at least 15 minutes long must now include the label "The program you are watching is a paid advertisement." Commercials of any length must not express or imply that they are not a paid ad.

Finally, the company will have to record and keep for five years copies of any ands it runs for inspection by the FTC at its discretion.

The FTC has been cracking down on deceptive dietary ads. It has not targeted the broadcast or cable outlets, but continues to ask the media to be more attentive to diet claims in the advertising they accept.