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Movie Mom

Movie Mom

No, Your Baby Can’t Read

posted by Nell Minow

Did you see those commercials for a product that would help you teach your baby to read?  Well, I hope it does not come as too much of a surprise to find out that it was a fraud. The Federal Trade Commission, which investigates the claims of advertisers and the complaints of consumers, found those commercials were deceptive.  The Commission has filed a complaint and the company has agreed to stop its claims.

The FTC complaint charges Your Baby Can, LLC, its former CEO, and the product’s creator with false and deceptive advertising, for claims in ads and product packaging that the program could teach infants and toddlers to read and that scientific studies proved the claims.  The complaint also charges company principal and product creator Robert Titzer, Ph.D, with making deceptive expert endorsements.  Your Baby Can and Titzer represented that the program taught children as young as nine months old to read; gave children an early start on academic learning, making them more successful in life than those who didn’t use it; and that scientific studies proved these claims, according to the complaint.  Hugh Penton, Jr., the company’s former CEO, and the company have settled with the FTC and agreed to stop making those claims in the future.  The Commission is pursing claims against Titzer in federal court.

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The settlement also imposes a $185 million judgment, which equals the company’s gross sales since January 2008.  However, the company says it is going out of business and has no money.  So they will only be paying $500,000, unless it is later determined that the financial information the company gave the FTC was false, in which case the full amount of the judgment will become due.

Needless to say, parents who want the best for their children are easy prey for con operators like this.  Please be cautious about claims that seem too good to be true.

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