August 20th, 2009
07:00 PM ET

Oprah's diet outrage!

Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Oz are taking aim at internet diet claims using their names. They have filed a trademark infringement complaint against 40 internet marketers claiming they are using their names and likenesses to sell products. Showbiz Tonight has just received the following statements:

"Harpo, Inc. has filed this lawsuit to let consumers know that these internet marketers are willfully using the names of well-known figures to deceive the public. Neither Ms. Winfrey nor Dr. Oz has ever sponsored or endorsed any acai, resveratrol or dietary supplement product and cannot vouch for their safety or effectiveness. It is our intention to put an end to these companies’ false claims and increasingly deceptive practices." -Marc Rachman, attorney on behalf of Harpo, Inc.

"The companies that are using my name to hawk these products are duping the public. I do not endorse any of these products. By falsely presenting products as ‘scientifically proven’ and endorsed by well-known figures, these companies do a gross disservice to the public health and could even pose a danger to those who believe their false and unproven claims. I am taking this step in the interest of public safety. I feel compelled to stand up against these companies and their deceitful practices." -Dr. Mehmet Oz

For all of the latest breaking developments, be sure to tune in to Showbiz Tonight at 11pm ET/PT on HLN- don’t miss it!


soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. LC

    So after this long Oprah and Dr. Oz are finally suing. I have a question. Why didn't they just submit a Cease and Desist to these companies? If they were really trying to do good by their viewers they would just do that and be done with it. But NO, they want some of that money. Because they know how much they can get out of these businesses.

    Please Please PLEASE read the terms and conditions of these websites before ordering. I cannot STRESS that more. Companies like this offer free TRIALS (no to be commonly confused with free SAMPLES.) Although it may seem like a scam and the price difference between 1.99 the first transaction and 79.95 the next month is great. But if you read the little contract that you are agreeing to when submitting the transaction you would know all this already. Companies like NEXTFLIX and BLOCKBUSTER online all do these same types of transactions. You are just subscribing to a "DIET" plan rather than a movie rentals.

    Just because you are buying things over the internet from the comfort of your home does not exempt you from being smart about spending your money. If anything is to be taken out of this, it is, that if something seems to be too good to be true then IT PROBABLY IS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.

    August 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Eugene

    Always use one-time "virtual" credit card numbers! Many credit card companies and even PayPal allow you to create one-time "virtual" credit card numbers, with expiration dates one month in the future (and three digit security numbers) for online purchases.

    I'll tell you, it's nice to order that "trial" newsletter for $1 on a virtual card... and laugh when they go and try charging the full amount of the subscription!! (On PayPal you can generate a one-time credit card number, use it for one charge, then go to PayPal and cancel that card number so the merchant can never use it again!)

    August 23, 2009 at 2:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. stephen

    good for Oprah and Dr. Oz! I do think their reputations have been put on the line. I saw an online ad for one of these products stating that Oprah was supporting them and I thought that she must have lost her mind. I was glad to read that yes indeed their trademark image was being hijacked. I think consumers are allowing waaay to much abuse to go on in todays marketplace.

    August 22, 2009 at 4:11 am | Report abuse |
  4. JP

    Well Said Jenny!

    Also. we all have busy lives and often find ourselves out of sync with any form of daily routine but if you can hack it, try your best to eat your meals at the SAME TIME EVERYDAY. Take at least a 1/2 hour walk, the same time everyday and drink plenty of water. You will find that you will sleep better, wake up more energized and be better equipped to enjoy doing things you are too too drained to do anymore. Who knows you may even like the results you see and discover new things you weren't likely to try before. Also stop drinking those iced coffees and sodas. They are tasty but otherwise useless. Be very mindful of your High Fructose Corn Syrup intake it is undoubtedly a health hazard and recently been found to contain mercury. That's it, GET HEALTHY, GET HAPPY.

    August 22, 2009 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. jenny

    Oprah, Dr. OZ, whoever.....people know that the only way to lose weight is diet and exercise (or surgery).
    I'm still astonished at the amount of people who would take a pill for a weight fix.
    I realize desperate times calls for desperate measures, however it can be done. I did it.
    Just start out walking, drinking water....in the first week I swear you'll lose over 5 lbs. just in water weight.
    It isn't a "quick" fix, but it's free and without pills.
    The real satisfaction comes from doing it yourself.

    August 21, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tracey

    I just cancelled the Resveratrol after reading this article. I received my order on Monday 8/17. Originally, I called 8/18 to cancel (within the 10 day free trial) and let them talk me into an additional free 10 day extension. Luckily, I called today. They initially tried to tell me my 10 days was up. I advised of the extension. They then tried to say my credit card had already been billed the 80.00 plus dollars for another month's supply. After getting irate with them, they advised they would cancel any future orders and tried to say that the 80.00 plus dollars would be returned to my account in 5-7 days. I told them this was unacceptable and requested a supervisor. The rep put me on hold and came back on the line to say that the transaction to my account had been denied so nothing was charged to my account (funny-this is a debit card with plenty of money in the account to cover the costs). After hanging up- I called the bank and confirmed no charges were billed to my card, cancelled that card , and requested a new one. BUYERS BEWARE!! These pills DO NOT DO ANYTHING for you!!!

    August 21, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jo-Jo

    yeah i was skepitcal about them. they had called me and was goign to mail it to me for $1.99 but then it was goign to cost me 79.99 every month by the time i found this out i had already gave them my credit card number, i had to go through hoops for them to cancel my order btu i went to my bank and told them that someone was goign to try to put a transaction through on my card and it was not authorized to not let it go through. Thank God i did that. The Acia Berry people was giving em such a hard i had to let my bank know it was not authorized. Once i told them that they cancelled my account and transfered all of my funds to another account. And i don't recall Oprah talking about those products on her show. I'm glad they are being sued.

    August 21, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Henry Blum

    If you buy something because Oprah told you in the ad it's your own fault. Oprah publicly tried to loose weight for years on TV and now looks down on skinny models in magazines and blames everyone but herself for the weight obsessions of women. The only reason she is made is because she is not getting her cut!!!! Have you seen Oprah? Do you not understand the "surgery" weight loss of Hollywood. Do as I say not as I do.

    August 21, 2009 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. LBW

    I am glad this has happened. These scams start by offering a free sample. They make you pay for shipping and thus, your credit card info. You are automatically signed up for monthly pills. Even if you send back the pills, your account is still tapped. My sister lost $800 before it stopped. She called the 800 number and told them to stop and they still hit her account. She had to go to the bank and cancel her card to stop this mess. I did try the pills and all that happened was they kept me in the bathroom. I hope telling this will stop others from making the same mistake.

    August 21, 2009 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kathy White

    I for one person have been taken by both of these products, Acai ( breeze) and the colon clense 3000, they called them. As soon as I realized that over $600.00 had been charged to my credit card, I instantly called both companies and canceled all orders and other products included with these transactions. They did send an email stating I had canceled. However they were still trying to charge for services and products that I have no idea what they are. I had to actually close one credit card and get a new number and the other card ( that was declined by the way due to the fact they already knew of the scam and refused the transaction ) they were still trying to charge these charges to the card, I had to put a BLOCK on that card to stop these charges from esclating. So now it is an inconvience to me, but it is saving my credit also. I am just one of hundreds of people that was taken by these companies. They said Oprah and Dr Oz indorced their products. I would have NEVER ordered such if it had not been on the Oprah show. I believed in her and Dr Oz. Learned my lesson. Never but never again.

    August 20, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |

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