It's true that there is an organization for just about everything, but a Bureau of Trampoline Review? That was taking it a bit far. The Federal Trade Commission took action against two brothers who it said boosted their trampoline business with review sites that were a bit less than legit.
Under an administrative consent order announced today, Son “Sonny” Le and Bao “Bobby” Le are barred from engaging in deceptive behavior in the future and must clearly and conspicuously disclose any material connections between a reviewer or endorser and the product being reviewed.
According to the FTC’s complaint, the brothers used several fictitious names to help sell their Infinity and Olympus Pro brand trampolines. The sales websites prominently featured logos from supposedly independent review entities, including “Trampoline Safety of America,” the “Bureau of Trampoline Review,” and “Top Trampoline Review.”
Consumers who clicked on the logos were directed to the websites, which claimed to provide objective information, including unbiased “expert reviews” of specific brands and models, as well as ratings based on safety, performance, and other qualities.
Perhaps you will not be surprised to learn that each review site recommended the Les’ Infinity and Olympus Pro trampolines.
One of the sites, Trampoline Safety of America, claimed to be "a third-party organization involved in studying the technical aspects of all the major trampoline sites in America” comprised of structural engineers, trampoline gymnastic coaches, and professionals whose goal was to educate the public about “the safeties of trampolines.”
The FTC also charged in its complaint that Bobby Le posted online reviews that appeared to be from ordinary trampoline owners – praising the “strong frames” and other attributes of the Les’ products, while disparaging other brands – without disclosing his connection to the products he was promoting.