Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order against The Bountiful Company for abusing a feature of Amazon.com to deceive consumers into thinking that its newly introduced supplements had more product ratings and reviews, higher average ratings, and “#1 Best Seller” and “Amazon’s Choice” badges.
The FTC’s February 2023 complaint alleged that by manipulating Amazon.com product pages, Bountiful misrepresented the reviews, the number of Amazon reviews and the average star ratings of some products, and that some of them were number one best sellers or had earned an Amazon Choice badge. The case against Bountiful marked the FTC’s first law enforcement challenging “review hijacking,” in which a marketer steals or repurposes reviews of another product.
In addition to requiring that Bountiful pay $600,000 as monetary relief for consumers, the final order prohibits Bountiful from making similar types of misrepresentations and bars the company from using deceptive review tactics that distort what consumers think about its products or services.
The March 28, 2023, Commission vote approving the final consent order was 4-0. Staff attorneys in the FTC’s Advertising Practices Division handled this matter.