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|Transcript of Debbie & Kevin Show, 24/6/2003|
|This is a transcript of a 30-minute infomercial in which Debbie Flett and Kevin Trudeau interview Robert Barefoot about coral calcium. The program is filled with misinformation. In June 2003, the Federal Trade Commission charged Trudeau and Barefoot with false advertising and filed suit in an Illinois court.|
Kevin Trudeau: Hey, thanks for watching. This is the Debbie and Kevin Show, and I am Kevin Trudeau.
Trudeau: We have a great show today. If you're watching right now and you're concerned about your health, if you're concerned about cancer, heart disease, acid reflux -- is that what they call it, acid reflux?
Trudeau: Indigestion -- indigestion, gas, bloating, a whole bunch of health issues. We have one of the most fascinating guests we've ever had on the show.
Trudeau: We interviewed this fellow in our show --
Trudeau: -- in England.
Trudeau: Our guest is actually Bob Barefoot and he was on my show in America here, A Closer Look, talking about calcium, the benefits of calcium and virtually cancer cures, heart disease cures, health cures from nutrition. Now, Bob Barefoot is the author of several controversial books. One is called Death By Diet where he talks about nutritional deficiencies being a major cause of disease, the calcium factor, the scientific secret of health and youth, and also the book, Barefoot on Coral Calcium and Elixir of Life, Health Secrets of Coral from Okinawa. That was also featured on Oprah, Coral from Okinawa, correct?
Trudeau: First off, Bob, thanks for being back again.
Trudeau: Glad to have you here.
Trudeau: Now, since we did our first infomercial here in America where I interviewed you on the benefits of coral calcium and the connection between cancer and heart disease and nutrition, the response has been amazing. You've been slammed with e-mail and letters from people --
Trudeau: -- all around the world now.
Trudeau: And, now, you're seeing these types of results because there's a connection you believe to be between specifically cancer and the lack of calcium in someone's diet?
Trudeau: Now, when you said that -- I know your brother back in the U.K. --
Trudeau: -- when you have a guy say, the link between cancer is simply a lack of calcium in the diet.
Trudeau: And you're a big component of coral calcium from Okinawa, Japan, and you do, obviously, have a product that you sell that you have a special blend which you think is the most absorbable. But when you say that there's so many people that say it can't be that easy --
Trudeau: Now, today, you say people are deficient in calcium.
Trudeau: The first question is, why are people deficient in calcium? Why aren't we getting enough calcium from food?
Trudeau: Now, isn't that -- in America, is there something that you can -- you can have too much calcium or --
|Transcript of "A Closer Look", 24/6/2003|
|This is a transcript of a 30-minute infomercial in which Kevin Trudeau interviews Robert Barefoot about coral calcium. The program is filled with misinformation.|
In June 2003, the Federal Trade Commission charged Trudeau and Barefoot with false advertising and filed suit in an Illinois court.
Kevin Trudeau: This is another edition of A Closer Look.
Trudeau: Explain that.
Trudeau: Just removing the oxygen, the acid from the body.
Trudeau: Now first off, you're not a medical doctor.
Trudeau: Okay. Now medical doctors claim cancer - they don't know what the cause is. Some people think it's genetic.
Trudeau: So there is allegedly, because i've never heard that the cause of cancer was known.
Trudeau: Okay, here's the question, I ask myself will I get cancer. Can I know. I mean people out there watching right now are all wondering, I hope I don't get cancer or I wonder if I am going to get cancer.
Trudeau: Is there a way for us to know whether we will or won't?
Trudeau: Okay now actually we've had Dr. Morter on the show before and we mentioned earlier that you know Dr. Morter -
Trudeau: And he's a big proponent of having an alkaline pH in the body. He also mentioned this - he was the only other guy I ever met that talked about a pH test which will determine your health quotient if you will.
Trudeau: So you're saying that if a - I mean you explained this in the book.
Trudeau: So if a person wants to know whether - now this seems like you have 3 or 4,000 doctors disagree with you on this point. But you're saying and Morter also, Dr. Morter also says that if you test your pH, you can determine whether or not you have a high chance of getting cancer.
Trudeau: Are most people acidic?
Trudeau: Okay. Now here's the question. So if that's the case, is there a way to change the body pH from being acidic to being more alkaline.
Trudeau: Okay, what do you - what's a good way in your opinion that a person can get rid of that acidity.
Trudeau: Is that the only common denominator, consuming more calcium.
Trudeau: I thought the sun was bad for us.
Trudeau: Wait a minute -- there's all types of research, isn't there that says that cancer, skin cancer is caused by sun exposure.
|Trudeau Selling Customer Information without Notice, 3/11/2005|
|Trudeau Selling Customer Information without Notice|
Kevin Trudeau is Selling Customer Names
Trudeau Newsletter and Discount Purchase Programs
“Without asking permission from consumers, Kevin Trudeau is offering to rent the names and addresses of his customers to telemarketers, junk mailers and other direct marketers,” said Teresa A. Santiago, Chairperson and Executive Director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board (“CPB”.)
“The only personal knowledge they have is the information that Trudeau is selling to telemarketers and other direct marketers,” said Chairperson Santiago.
“If consumers can’t get through to customer service then they can’t cancel the $71 charge in time to avoid an automatic billing,” said Chairperson Santiago. “Mr. Trudeau should either end this sales practice or he should have his staff do a better job of explaining this automatic-billing process before more people find unwanted charges on their bank or credit-card statements.”
To get a refund, customers who call Trudeau’s company on a toll-free number cannot get a refund unless they call a local number in Illinois. This results in long-distance telephone charges for most callers, Chairperson Santiago noted.
Trudeau charges $71.40 per year or $499 for a “lifetime membership” for the newsletter and access to his website.
“When consumers seek cures in Trudeau’s book, the book often instructs them to go to the website to get the answers they thought they find in the book,” said Chairperson Santiago.
“The cover of the book says it “includes the natural cures for more than 50 specific diseases,” said Chairperson Santiago. “But after 355 pages, Trudeau writes: ‘It’s important to know that people who are looking for a specific cure for a specific disease are missing the point of this book.’”
Note from Dr. Stephen Barrett: In an Associated Press report, Trudeau's attorney (David Bradford) said that Trudeau didn't promote the idea that buyers can "opt out" of their information being used, but they can be excluded by notifying the Trudeau's company. Many Internet seller do ask, but Bradford said he thought that Internet buyers generally understand that their information may be shared.
|FTC Action against Kevin Trudeau, 27/7/2002|
| FTC Action against Kevin Trudeau|
Kevin Trudeau developed and hosted radio and TV infomercials for a range of products in conjunction with two infomercial production companies, Mega Systems, Inc. and Tru-Vantage, L.L.C. Many of the infomercials had names such as, "A Closer Look," and were formatted to appear to be commercial radio and TV interview programs or talk shows, not the advertisements they actually were. Five respondents, including Trudeau himself, invented or manufactured the products or services that were featured in the infomercials and appeared in the infomercials promoting them.
An infomercial for Kevin Trudeau's Mega Memory System claimed that scientific studies of his system showed that it could help anyone achieve a photographic memory, even people with learning disabilities or low IQ's. "Kevin Trudeau's breakthrough techniques were developed while working with blind and mentally handicapped students," the infomercial said. "Their recall ability increased from 15% to 90% in just 5 days," it said, and stated that the techniques were ". . . guaranteed to work for you." In fact, the FTC alleges, the memory system would not enable users to achieve a photographic memory, and the advertising claims were false.
Mega Systems International, Inc., and its principal, Jeffrey Salberg, produced the Eden's Secret; Dr. Callahan's Addiction Breaking System; Mega Memory System; Jeanie Eller; and Sable Hair Farming System infomercials. The FTC alleged that through the formatting of those infomercials, Mega Systems; Salberg; and Trudeau deceptively represented that the commercials were independent television and radio programs, not paid commercial advertising.
A sixth infomercial, "Howard Berg's Mega Reading," produced by Trudeau and Tru-Vantage International, L.L.C., claimed that the home study program could improve anyone's reading speed and comprehension by as much as ten times. Berg claimed, "I have a letter here from a girl who has brain damage. . . . Brain damage. She was in a car accident and half her brain stopped functioning. It was electrically dead." Berg went on to claim that after using his system for a brief time (on a coffee break) the brain-damaged consumer's reading speed increased from three to 600 words per minute. According to the FTC, Berg had no basis for claiming that his program could teach anyone, including adults; children; and disabled individuals, to significantly increase their reading speed while substantially comprehending and retaining the material, and the claim is false.
To settle the FTC charges, Kevin Trudeau, who developed and appeared in all the infomercials, including the one for his "Mega Memory System," will pay $500,000 in consumer redress and will be barred from making false claims for the products in the future. Trudeau will be required to establish a $500,000 escrow account or performance bond to assure compliance. Infomercial producer Mega Systems International, Inc., and its principal, Jeffrey Salberg, also will pay $500,000 for consumer redress.
Trudeau, Mega Systems, Salberg, Wright, Callahan, Eller, Berg, and Tru-Vantage will be barred from making the alleged deceptive claims relating to their products in the future. In addition, Trudeau, Salberg, and Mega Systems will be required to have substantiation, which, when appropriate, must be scientific, for claims about the benefits, performance or efficacy of any product or program they advertise; promote; sell; or distribute in the future. They also will be barred from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions or interpretations of any test, study or research. Wright, Callahan, Berg, and Tru-Vantage will be required to have substantiation, which, when appropriate, must be scientific, for claims about the benefits, performance or efficacy of any product or program like those they allegedly deceptively promoted.
In addition, both Trudeau, Mega Systems, and Salberg will be required to disclose "THE PROGRAM YOU ARE WATCHING IS A PAID ADVERTISEMENT FOR " in television ads that are at least 15 minutes long, and to disclose the same audio message in radio ads that are at least five minutes long.
and consent agreements
More about Kevin Trudeau ||| Quackwatch Home Page
|A Critical Look at Robert Barefoot and Coral Calcium, 13/9/2012|
|In 2003, a newer Barefoot/Trudeau infomercial ("The Debbie & Kevin Show") highlighted and misrepresented the JAMA calcium study and claimed that coral calcium had cured many cases of terminal cancer.|
Kevin Trudeau, who hosted Barefoot's infomercials, has been the object of many FTC regulatory actions for false advertising. In 1998, in connection with six infomercials that he developed, Trudeau signed a consent agreement to (a) pay $500,000 in consumer redress, (b) be barred from making false claims for products in the future, and (c) establish a $500,000 escrow account or performance bond to assure compliance . In the infomercials, Trudeau acted skeptical by questioning why listeners should believe various claims that the overwhelming majority of medical doctors would dispute. Barefoot's answer is simple (and incorrect). Doctors, he said, were too busy to read journals and get their information from drug companies; and drug companies didn't want them to know that coral calcium was more effective than their drugs. (Doctors actually get most of their information from journals, continuing education courses, and conversations with colleagues, not from drug companies.) During the early 1990s, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Trudeau served nearly two years in prison.
The ostensible purpose of the infomercial was to sell The Calcium Factor and Death By Diet. The infomercial stated that listeners could get a special price by calling a toll-free number. I assume that the product was not mentioned on the program because the cancer claim would make Barefoot and Trudeau sitting ducks for FDA prosecution. But by selling the book, they would be protected by freedom of the press as long as the contents of the book are accurately described. When I called the number to get the price of the books, I learned that the price was $37.97 plus $7.99 for shipping, a total of $45.96. The list prices on Amazon Books totaled $35.90, but buyers of both would pay no shipping charge, and used and nearly new copies were available for less. I also found a coral calcium supplier who sold both books for $27.40 postpaid.
During "A Closer Look," Trudeau stated that callers to a toll-free number who mention the program's name can take advantage of "special arrangements" he made with all of his program's guests. When I called the toll-free number, the operator answered "The Calcium Factor." When I asked whether this was a regular business, he said that it was just an order center. When I asked who owned it, he first said he didn't know and then said their names were "Tom" and "Steve." When I asked about the "special arrangements, I was told that the books, three videotapes, and three audiotapes were available free as part of a package that includes ten 90-capsule bottles of "Coral Calcium Daily" for $299.99 plus $19.98 shipping ($32 per bottle), and that buyers of the package can get additional bottles for life for half that much. The product contained calcium carbonate, 3 other minerals, and vitamins A, C, D, and E. The operator told me that the recommended dosage was 3 capsules per day, which would make the monthly cost about $32 for the first ten months and about half that much thereafter. I couldn't find anything "special" about the arrangements, and I found what looked like the same deal on a Web site for $50 less. Bob Barefoot's Coral Calcium Supreme, the product promoted by the Debbie & Kevin infomercial, had a similar range of prices.
The outrageous nature of Barefoot's claims triggered regulatory action here and abroad. In June 2003, the United Kingdom's Independent Television Commission (ITC) announced that it had levied a £60,000 fine on the television shopping channel, Shop America (a subsidiary of Trustar Global Media) for several breaches of the ITC's Advertising Code. The main offense was an ad which claimed that Bob Barefoot's Coral Calcium Supreme could help reverse cancer and other serious diseases and could benefit everyone, including babies. The penalty also covered misleading ads for the Fresh Start diet plan and a golfing product . One week later, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission charged Barefoot, Trudeau, Shop America (USA), and Deonna Enterprises with making unsubstantiated claims that "go far beyond existing scientific evidence regarding the recognized health benefits of coral calcium." The FTC filed suit in Chicago federal court abd quickly obtiained a temporary restraining order and an asset freeze. In addition, the FTC and FDA sent warnings to many Web site operators who are making similar claims and U.S. Marshals seized $2.6 million worth of Coral Calcium Supreme .
In a separate action, the FTC alleged that Trudeau violated the 1998 FTC order prohibiting him from making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any product. The FTC alleges that Trudeau violated the order by making false and unsubstantiated claims about Coral Calcium Supreme and Biotape (a purported pain-relief product which Trudeau promotes through a separate infomercial). In this action, the FTC is seeking a finding of contempt, monetary relief, and other injunctive relief, as well as a temporary restraining order that would prohibit Trudeau from making the challenged claims, and would freeze his assets . Biotape's developer, Darrell Stoddard, claims that pain is caused by blockage of "life force" ("chi") and that the tape is conductive mylar that "connects the broken circuits." Users are instructed place a strip of Biotape directly on the parts of their body where they feel pain.
Infomercial marketers settle various charges: Ad claims for "Hair Farming," "Mega Memory System," "Addiction Breaking System," "Action Reading," "Eden's Secret," and "Mega Reading" were deceptive. FTC news release, Jan 13, 1998.
Emshwiller JR. Nutrition for Life's top recruiter has a criminal past despite convictions, Trudeau gets new distributors to fork out the cash. The Wall Street Journal, Jan 19, 1996.
FTC charges marketers of Coral Calcium Supreme dietary supplement and a pain-relief product with making false and unsubstantiated claims. FTC news release, June 10, 2003.
|Permanent Injunction against Robert Barefoot, 26/1/2004|
| KEVIN TRUDEAU, SHOP AMERICA (USA), LLC, ROBERT BAREFOOT, DEONNA ENTERPRISES, INC. AND ARBO ENTERPRISES, INC.|
Associate Director for Advertising Practices Federal Trade Commission 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington D.C. 20580 Attn: FTC v. Kevin Trudeau et al., (N.D. Ill.)
A Defendants shall hereby assign to the Commission, without any encumbrances, all rights and claims to money or other assets due to the Defendants as of the date of entry of this Order, and the right to pursue any chose in action to recover any such money or assets due, under the terms of the agreement entered into on May 17th, 2002 between Trustar Global Media Ltd. and Robert R. Barefoot, including any addendums to such agreement, and under the terms of any other agreement between any of the Defendants and Trustar Global Media Ltd., Shop America (USA), LLC, Shop America, PLC, Shop America Marketing Group, LLC, Shop America (Australasia), Ltd., Trucom LLC, K.T. Corporation, LLC, Kevin Trudeau, or any entity owned by or held directly or indirectly for the benefit of Kevin Trudeau.
and Robert R. Barefoot, including any addendums to such agreement, and under the terms of any other agreement between any of the Defendants and Trustar Global Media Ltd., Shop America (USA), LLC, Shop America, PLC, Shop America Marketing Group, LLC, Shop America (Australasia) Ltd., Trucom LLC, K.T. Corporation Ltd., Kevin Trudeau, or any entity owned by or held directly or indirectly for the benefit of Kevin Trudeau, Defendants shall: (1) notify the Commission in writing of such money or assets; and (2) pay, transfer, or assign such money or assets to the Commission.
|Be Wary of Health-Related Infomercials, 10/9/2009|
|The most brazen health-related infomercials ever broadcast were aired in 2002 and 2003 to promote Coral Calcium Supreme and similar products. During the tapes, Kevin Trudeau interviews "King of Calcium" Robert E. Barefoot, who claims that calcium deficiency causes more than 200 degenerative diseases (including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease); that 90% of the disease in America can be wiped out by taking the right nutrients; and that a thousand people have told him that coral calcium cured their cancer. He also states that the underlying cause of these diseases is acidosis caused by calcium deficiency and advises everyone to get at least two hours of sunlight on the face daily without using sunscreen, a practice that would obviously increase the risk of skin cancer.|
Quackwatch has posted detailed analyses of the infomercials, both of which can be accurately described as a pack of lies from one end to another. In 2003, the Federal Trade Commission charged Trudeau and Barefoot with false advertising and obtained a temporary restraining order to stop further broadcasting of the tape. Click here for the full story.
Leigh Valentine's Firmalift "kit is promoted by a 30-minute infomercial in which Valentine is interviewed by Kevin Trudeau. The system, which they refer to as an "age-erasing miracle," includes: Non-Surgical Face Lift Powder; Blue Peel Non-Surgical Face Lift Activator; Firming Facial and Eye Serum; Skin Renewal Booster; and an application brush. The infomercial suggests that the system is the equivalent of a surgical face-lift, can "rejuvenate" the skin, and can "reduce and eliminate wrinkles." Valentine also claims that "clinical research" has shown "up to" 40 to 67% increase in skin density, elasticity, and firmness." Moisturizers can make fine lines and wrinkles less apparent by holding water in the outermost layer of the skin, but the effect is temporary and does not alter cell structure or rejuvenate in any way.
|FTC Files Second Civil Contempt Action against Enforma, 27/7/2002|
|The infomercials feature Kevin Trudeau as the host and Donna DiFerdinando as "Vice President for Research and Development" and the "Product Developer." The infomercials and Web site state, among other claims, that Chitozyme is "a revolutionary fat trapping product that promotes weight loss while letting you still eat your favorite food guilt free," and that Acceleron "is proven to increase your metabolism" and "burns more calories."|
Kevin Trudeau, although not charged in this action, has been the target of other actions involving dubious weight-loss promotions.
On July 27, 2002, I noticed that Trudeau hosted cable TV infomercials for an Atkins system and the Acceleron/Carb Trapper Plus® Weight Loss System, both of which he said had helped him whereas others had not. From the front he he did not look overweight, but the side views shown during the Acceleron/Carb Trapper promotion suggested to me that he was about at least 20 pounds overweight.
Infomercial marketers settle various charges:.Ad claims for "Hair Farming," "Mega Memory System," "Addiction Breaking System,"
|Recent Additions to Quackwatch, 28/2/2015|
|Kevin Trudeau's Sordid Regulatory History (updated 3/22/14)|
|Victim Case Reports, 7/12/2014|
|Cherry Teresa (scammed by Kevin Trudeau)—link to another site |
Cherry Teresa (scammed by Kevin Trudeau)—link to another site
|FTC Dietary Supplement Advertising Cases 1984 to July 2003, 5/6/2011|
|Kevin Trudeau; Robert Barefoot, Shop America (USA), LLC, and Deonna Enterprises, Inc. Civ. Action No. 03 C 904 (June 9, 2003) (N.D. Ill.) (Complaint for Permanent Injunction and Other Equitable Relief) Alleged false and unsubstantiated claims that Coral Calcium Supreme can treat or cure cancer and other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and heart disease, and is superior to other calcium supplements.|
Kevin Trudeau, Civ. Action No. 98 C 0168 (June 9, 2003) (N.D. Ill.) (Contempt Action for Monetary Relief and Other Injunctive Relief) Alleged violation of 1998 FTC order (X980014) prohibiting unsubstantiated claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any product. Order violations alleged involve claims for Coral Calcium Supreme and Biotape.
|Promoters of Questionable Methods, 19/2/2015|
|Kevin Trudeau ******** |
|Nonrecommended Books, 11/11/2013|
| Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About Kevin Trudeau |
|Nonrecommended Periodicals, 14/3/2012|
| Natural Cures Newsletter (Kevin Trudeau) * * |
|Nonrecommended Books, 12/7/2010|
| Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About Kevin Trudeau |
|Industry Trade Group Blasts Coral Calcium Promotion, 18/5/2003|
| (interview by Kevin Trudeau).|
|Mail-Order Quackery, 17/8/2011|
|The Federal Trade Commission warns consumers to be aware that some television programs that look like talk shows are actually program-length commercials. Some programs of this type have promoted dubious weight-loss plans , cellulite removers , exercise devices, hair-loss remedies , dietary supplements , and alleged memory-enhancement , and reading-improvement systems , One tipoff, says the FTC, is that the product promoted during "commercial breaks" is related to the program's content.|
|Misleading Infomercials, 10/9/2009|
|Coral Calcium |
Sable Hair Farming System
Mega Memory System
Doctor Callahan's Addiction Breaking System