The Institute for Truth in Marketing, Inc, located in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit corporation formed to combat false or deceptive advertising. This includes food fraud, and inaccurate or misleading labeling or other advertising of consumer products, such as food, beverage, dietary supplements, cosmetics and other consumer products.
Since its inception in 2015, the Institute has investigated the marketing practices of dozens of companies. In the course of our investigations, we have discovered and documented a wide range of deceptive or misleading advertising practices by the manufacturers and sellers of many different kinds of consumer products.
Such practices have included deceptive advertising of price discounts, sale deceptions, ingredient content and product benefits. We have also identified a large number of products that are being promoted as helping to treat various medical conditions without premarketing approval by the FDA.
We have notified numerous companies that their marketing practices violate consumer protection statutes and have been successful in obtaining voluntary agreements from many of these companies to modify their advertising practices.
We have submitted formal complaints to the FDA and the FTC where we have felt that this was warranted. And we have filed lawsuits to compel offending companies to cease their violations of consumer protection laws and to enforce statutory penalties for past violations.
The Institute continues to expand our investigation activity, and we are always interested in hearing from consumers abut companies whose marketing practices warrant investigation.
The Institute's president is Jared Zecco. Jared, who is a resident of Washington, D.C., received his Bachelor's Degree from George Washington University and has worked for the Institute since 2015.
The news is full of examples of products that are mislabeled or falsely advertised.
Weight loss supplements that contain illegal ingredients.
Foods loaded with undisclosed or disguised forms of sugar.
Extra virgin olive oil that may not even be olive oil.
The Institute arranges for lab testing and evaluation of consumer products to assess the accuracy of their labels and advertising claims. We look for the following:
Often, the federal government is the only party that can take action to enforce federal truth in advertising statutes. However, the budgets of federal agencies are limited. So, often they are underfunded and understaffed, and end up unable to fully enforce their own truth in adverting laws.
If the Institute concludes that a product is being deceptively labeled or otherwise advertised, we can proceed in one or more of the following ways:
Retailers often use deceptive pricing schemes involving misleading comparisons between their selling prices and fictitious higher prices, commonly referred to as the "retail" price, "regular" price, "MSRP" (manufacturer's suggested retail price), "SRP" (suggest retail price), etc. Or they make misleading comparisons between their current pricing and their own prior pricing of a product.
The Institute compares a retailer's price for a product with what other retailers are charging for the same product to verify the accuracy of a company's comparative pricing and "savings" claims. And where a retailer claims price reductions from its own prior pricing for a product, we compare that prior pricing with the alleged reduced price to determine whether the claimed price reduction is false or misleading.
Tell us about a product you have purchased that you think was mislabeled or deceptively advertised, and why. We may consider passing this information along to the proper federal or state agency, or the Institute may choose to test or evaluate the product. You can email us or call our toll free number.