TINA.org investigated doTerra International, LLC, a Utah-based multilevel marketing company that sells essential oils and supplements, and found that it used unsubstantiated disease-treatment claims, including claims that products could prevent and treat COVID-19, in marketing materials.
- Filed complaint with the DSSRC
- DSSRC issued report finding unsubstantiated health claims and deceptive income representations
- Filed complaint with FTC
- Department of Justice filed civil lawsuits against several distributors
- Distributors ordered to pay civil penalties for making COVID-19 treatment claims
doTerra distributors are ordered to pay civil penalties of $15,000 each in order to settle the Department of Justice’s charges that they violated the FTC Act and COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act.
The Department of Justice files civil lawsuits against several doTerra distributors for violating the FTC Act and the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act by promoting doTerra products for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
TINA.org files a complaint with the FTC after finding that several high-level doTerra distributors promoted products using unsubstantiated COVID-19 treatment and prevention claims.
The DSSRC issues a press release stating that it has re-investigated doTerra and found that it is again using unsubstantiated health and earnings claims to market its products and business opportunity. According to the DSSRC, the company removed certain deceptive claims but designated some YouTube videos as private rather than remove them from publication. The DSSRC recommends that the videos be completely disabled.
The National Advertising Review Board (NARB) affirms the NAD’s determination and recommendations, which doTerra says it will comply with despite disagreeing with the decision.
The National Advertising Division (NAD), after investigating claims brought to its attention by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., determines that doTerra did not provide a reasonable basis for claims that its essential oils provide certain health benefits, including specific benefits for mood, emotions, and the mind. NAD also determines that the evidence in the record was not a good fit for the advertiser’s “Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade” claim. NAD recommends that doTerra discontinue the marketing claims at issue.
The FTC sends doTerra a warning letter regarding distributors’ use of social media posts that claim doTerra products can treat or prevent COVID-19 and misrepresents that consumers who become doTerra distributors are likely to earn substantial income.
The DSSRC issues a decision stating that doTerra distributors have been making unsubstantiated health claims, as well as deceptive income representations, to sell products and promote the doTerra business opportunity. The DSSRC recommends that the company cease using such claims, and states that it will “continue to monitor the messages disseminated by the Company salesforce on social media and will immediately initiate a compliance inquiry should it identify an ongoing proliferation of egregious, unsupported product or income claims disseminated by doTERRA and/or its salesforce.”
TINA.org files a complaint with the DSSRC urging it to investigate doTerra’s unsubstantiated health claims and take action.
The FDA sends a warning letter to doTerra for, among other things, marketing its products as unapproved drugs.
UPDATE: doTerra Distributors Ordered to Pay $15K Each Over COVID Claims
Civil penalties follow a 2022 TINA.org investigation and complaint to the FTC.
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