Consumer News

Best Reader Tips of 2021

This year reader tips led to dozens of ad alerts, as well as a complaint to regulators.

In large part our success at relies on readers like you. We depend on reader tips to warn others about deceptive advertising and in 2021 you did not disappoint.

Here are some of the best reader tips we received this year (so far):

FabKids – After receiving a tip from a reader who said FabKids was charging her for a VIP membership she never signed up for, we conducted an investigation into the online clothing retailer. We found the site uses deceptive pricing and tricks consumers into becoming VIP members without disclosing all the terms of membership. Following our investigation, we filed complaints with regulators urging them to take action.

Beyond Meat –  Following the publication of an ad alert prompted by a consumer complaint, Beyond Meat stopped claiming that its products are made without “synthetically produced ingredients.”

Various Fish Food Brands – We love it when readers do some research before reaching out to us. It makes our job a little easier. This year we got a tip from a reader who said he analyzed over 435 fish foods and found many deceptively named after a “minor ingredient” in the product.  We published ad alerts on five of them (1,2,3,4,5).

BlackOxygen Organics – Before this MLM selling “magic dirt” announced it was closing in November, we received several consumer complaints about distributors’ outrageous (and illegal) health claims. We posted an ad alert that focused on COVID claims.

Lucky Bingo – Prompted by a reader tip, we investigated this free app and found some of the promised rewards elusive.

Crowd Cow —  A reader pointed out that this subscription-based delivery service’s offer of “$100 of free meat” is only free if you spend money, $999 to be exact. That seemed like information worth sharing, so we wrote about it.

UNATION Jacksonville – This for-profit marketing firm masquerades as a “community organization” on Instagram, which we would not have been able to bring to light without the help of a consumer tip.

SuperBeets – After seeing an ad for these “heart chews” while watching late-night TV, a reader contacted us, suspicious of the ad’s claims. We in turn created a video zooming in on the fine print of a SuperBeets commercial.

American Blanket Company – Despite its name, not all of the blankets this company makes are American blankets – or, to put it more accurately, not all of the company’s blankets meet the federal standard to be marketed as made in the USA. After receiving a tip from a reader, we were able to alert others to the company’s deceptive “Made in America” and “USA Made” claims.

Chipotle — Thanks to a consumer complaint, we know not to confuse a “$0 Delivery Fee” with “free delivery.”

To file a complaint with, click here.

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