FTC Challenges Marketers’ Baseless Claims That Their Supplements Prevent or Reverse Gray Hair
Defendants Falsely Claimed Their Products Were Backed by Science, Agency Says
Two marketers of dietary supplements have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made unfounded claims that their products could prevent or reverse gray hair. The agency is pursuing legal action in court against a third company for making similar claims.
Under settlements with the FTC, GetAwayGrey, LLC and its president Robin Duner-Fenter, the sellers of “Get Away Grey,” and Rise-N-Shine, LLC and its president Cathy Beggan, the sellers of “Go Away Gray,” are barred from making these types of gray hair elimination claims unless they have reliable scientific evidence to support them. The FTC also filed a complaint against COORGA Nutraceuticals Corporation and its principal Garfield Coore, who market a line of products called “Grey Defence.”
“These companies claimed their supplements could treat gray hair at its roots,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “In fact, their root problem was a lack of evidence for their claims.”
As detailed in the FTC’s separate complaints against GetAwayGrey, LLC, Rise-N-Shine, LLC, and COORGA Nutraceuticals Corporation and their respective principals, the defendants market dietary supplements containing the enzyme “catalase.” The defendants have claimed the catalase in their products attacks hydrogen peroxide, the chemical that causes hair to turn gray.
In addition to selling a dietary supplement, Rise-N-Shine also has marketed a catalase-containing shampoo and hair conditioner. The companies have sold their products online and through retailers such as CVS and Walgreens at prices ranging from $29.95 to $69.99 per bottle.
The FTC’s complaints allege that ads for the products made false or unsubstantiated claims that the products reverse or prevent the formation of gray hair, including:
- “Watch your grey go away! Now, grey hair can be stopped and reversed . . . We stop grey hair by using a vitamin that includes the Catalase enzyme. Just two vitamin pills a day can bring back your natural hair color.” (GetAwayGrey)
- “New & Improved! Now With 50% More Catalase . . . . ‘After 3 months of Go Away Gray, I can see white roots coming in darker. I’m very impressed!’ – D. Heindl” (Rise-N-Shine); and
- “65% of Grey Defence Customers in [an] Observational Study Reversed Their Grey! Grey Defence Reverses Greying – Detailed Observational Study Proves it.” (COORGA)
The proposed orders against GetAwayGrey and Rise-N-Shine prohibit the defendants from representing that a covered product reverses or prevents the formation of gray hair, and from making any claim about the health benefits, performance, or efficacy of any covered product, unless the claim is non-misleading and the defendants have competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate it. They also require the defendants to retain certain records of human clinical testing that they rely on as competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The orders include a suspended $1,817,939 judgment against the GetAwayGrey defendants, and a $2 million suspended judgment against the Rise-N-Shine defendants, which would become due if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The FTC acknowledges the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus for its referral of the COORGA Nutraceuticals case.
The Commission vote approving the three complaints and two proposed stipulated court orders was 5-0. The complaint and proposed order against GetAwayGrey and Robin Duner-Fenter were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The complaint and proposed order against Rise-N-Shine and Cathy Beggan were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the complaint against COORGA and Garfield Coore was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.
For information about how to avoid advertising fraud for these types of products, consumers can read Dietary Supplements: Health Information for Older People, and A Healthy Dose of Skepticism.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The case will be decided by the court. Stipulated final orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.