August 29th, 2012

FTC Says 'Your Baby Can Read' Ads Are Fiction

By Katy Bachman

Ads promoting Your Baby Can Read were nothing but fiction, says the Federal Trade Commission, citing a lack of scientific evidence backing up claims that children as young as nine months could be taught to read. The FTC today filed false and deceptive advertising charges against the program.

The FTC’s case, part of its push to prohibit overhyped health and scientific claims, followed a number of lawsuits brought by advocacy groups and others against Your Baby Can LLC, which was forced to close its doors in July.

Two of the three defendants—Your Baby Can and Hugh Penton Jr., the company’s president and CEO until March 2010—settled with the FTC for $185 million, equal to the firm’s gross sales since January 2008. However, the financially strapped company will only pay $500,000 of the judgment, with the balance suspended as long as the financial information provided to the FTC is accurate. The FTC will continue to pursue Robert Titzer, the company’s principal and product creator, in the U.S. District Court for the southern district of California.

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