The Federal Trade Commission ordered a pair of smartphone-application marketers to stop advertising that their software can treat acne. In a pair of settlements, two companies have agreed to stop marketing their apps under those claims.
“Smartphones make our lives easier in countless ways, but unfortunately when it comes to curing acne, there’s no app for that,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said.
Mobile applications AcneApp and Acne Pwner are the two products named in the settlements. About 15,000 consumers paid between 99 cents and $1.99 for the apps, which were sold as clear-up solutions that used light emitted from the smartphone’s faceplate as the method of treatment.
In its complaint, the first in the Commission’s history to target health claims made in the mobile app marketplace, FTC officials charged that both company’s assertions about the apps were based on unsubstantiated research and misleading information.
Under the terms of the FTC action, owners Koby Brown and Gregory W. Pearson (purveyors of AcneApp), and Andrew N. Finkle (seller of Acne Pwner), must not only stop purporting that their products are acne-treatment tools, but the pair also have to pay nearly $16,000 in fines, combined.
After a public comment period, ending Oct. 10, 2011, the FTC will decide whether the agreed-upon settlements are final. Interested parties may submit comments on the matter at the following websites:
Comments will also be taken by mail at: Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex D) 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.