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Makers of Balance of Nature supplements pay $1.1M to settle false advertising case

PIX Now Noon - 7/26/23
PIX Now Noon - 7/26/23 09:11

NAPA – A supplement company has agreed to pay $1.1 million to settle a consumer protection lawsuit brought on by several district attorneys in the Bay Area and across California over claims of false advertising.

Utah-based Evig, which does business as Balance of Nature, was ordered to pay $850,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs, along with $250,000 in restitution to customers.

Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley filed the case in Napa County Superior Court with the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force. The group comprises of district attorneys in Alameda, Marin, Monterey, Orange, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano and Sonoma counties.

"Making misleading statements about their products and signing customers up for recurring charges without their knowledge are complete violations of the public's trust and the law," Haley said.

The company sells supplements in capsule form, purportedly made from ground-up fruit and vegetables. Prosecutors alleged that Balance of Nature made unlawful claims, not supported by "competent and reliable scientific evidence."

According to the attorneys, Balance of Nature claimed one serving of its fruit products, which weighs about 2 grams, contained the "nutritional equivalent of over 5 servings of fruits per dose."

Another claim involves the company's "Balance of Nature Fruit and Veggies" supplements, in which they claimed three capsules had as much nutrition as "from eating more than 10 servings of a salad made with 31 different fruits and vegetables."

Prosecutors also alleged that the company claimed their products could prevent, treat, mitigate or sure serious diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia and cancer, using customer testimonials to make false claims. The company allegedly told customers that customers take 12 capsules each of its Fruit and Veggies supplements if they had been diagnosed with "life threatening illness."

"The truth can be a hard pill to swallow," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a separate statement. "This company was dishonest in selling its products to the public. We will fight to make sure companies tell the truth to protect the health and welfare of our citizens."

Balance of Nature is also alleged to have violated state law involving an automatically renewing subscription program, by charging a monthly fee without clearly disclosing terms, not giving customers an "adequate" acknowledgment of enrolling or not allowing customers to cancel online.

The judgement calls for any California resident who purchased a Balance of Nature product in the last six years to receive a notice on how to claim a refund. Balance of Nature is also prohibited from engaging in false advertising.

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