Consumer Alert for persons considering anger management classes on-lineConsumer Fraud: False or misleading Internet anger management ads
Anderson & Anderson has earned the reputation as “The Trusted Name in Anger Management”. We have devoted our many years of practice to providing quality professional services to consumers and professionals. In the absence of state standards for the practice of anger management, we have assumed a responsibility to expose false and/or misleading advertising which may victimize unsuspecting consumers. As the largest and most respected anger management provider in the nation, we feel that it is important for those who profess to be trained anger management facilitators to be truthful and fair in claims made in all Internet ads.
The following information appears on the Home Page of the Federal Trade Commission which is the only agency with the power to act against unscrupulous Internet advertisers:
Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road
The Internet is connecting advertisers and marketers to customers from Boston to Bali with text, interactive graphics, video and audio. If you’re thinking about advertising on the Internet, remember that many of the same rules that apply to other forms of advertising apply to electronic marketing. These rules and guidelines protect businesses and consumers – and help maintain the credibility of the Internet as an advertising medium. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has prepared this guide to give you an overview of some of the laws it enforces.
Advertising must tell the truth and not mislead consumers.
In addition, claims must be substantiated.
GENERAL OFFERS AND CLAIMS
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
The Federal Trade Commission Act allows the FTC to act in the interest of all consumers to prevent deceptive and unfair acts or practices. In interpreting Section 5 of the Act, the Commission has determined that a representation, omission or practice is deceptive if it is likely to:
- mislead consumers and
· affect consumers’ behavior or decisions about the product or service.
While there as no laws regulating the practice of anger management, there are some counties or districts which have some minimal standards. For example, the Superior Court in the County of Los Angeles, which has a population of ten million residents, has its own list of accepted providers. Orange County, California has designated the Probation Department as the agency responsible for determining acceptable providers for that county. Finally, on-line anger management classes are not accepted by any court in the state of California. This can easily be confirmed by contacting the Presiding Judge in any Judicial District in California. In Houston, Tx. it is the local Probation Department which approves anger management classes. In the State of Texas, it is Commission on Juvenile Probation and the Commission on Adult Probation which has the authority to approve or disapprove of anger management programs. Neither of these agencies currently approves of on-line anger management classes.
Therefore, all Anderson & Anderson Certified Providers are asked to copy and forward false and misleading ads including those claiming “Court Acceptance Guaranteed”, Money Back Guarantee” and similar claims for on-line classes and sending this information to the Federal Trade Commission as well as Google. We are also requesting that all of our members place copies of this announcement on their websites and/blogs.
For anyone who has been damaged by any of these ads, we urge you to visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/buspubs/ruleroad.shtm and file your own complaint.
All legitimate anger management providers suffer when we sit by quietly as consumers are victimized.
George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF