As part of its efforts to stop over-hyped advertising claims, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed suit in 2012 against the marketers and creator of the “Your Baby Can Read” program. Your BBB has learned that the case has been settled. According to an FTC Press Release dated August 22, 2014, the creator of “Your Baby Can Read,” Dr. Robert Titzer, and his company, Infant Learning, Inc., agreed to the Court’s Stipulated Final Judgment.
According to the Press Release, the charges against the defendants are that they “made baseless claims about the effectiveness of the Your Baby Can Read program and misrepresented that scientific studies proved the claims.” Ads for the program claimed that it could teach infants as young as nine months old to read, that three- and four- year-olds would be reading books like Harry Potter, that children who used the program would do better in school, and that scientific studies proved those claims.
The program consisted of a set of DVDs, books, word cards, and pop-up books that cost around $200 and took in more than $185 million from January 2008 through 2012. The program was advertised on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, TV infomercials, network and cable stations such as Discovery Kids, Disney DX, Cartoon Network, and was sold online at Amazon.com and BabiesRUs.com as well as at retail stores including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Walgreens, Buy Buy Baby, and Toys R Us.
According to the Press Release, the Stipulated Final Order “prohibits Dr. Titzer and his company from making any unsubstantiated claims about the performance or efficacy of any product that teaches reading. It also prohibits them from using the term “Your Baby Can Read,” bars them from misrepresenting the results of any tests or research, and prohibits Titzer from endorsing any product unless he has a reasonable basis for the claims made.” As further stated in the Press Release, the Order imposes two monetary judgments against Dr. Titzer and his company totaling more than $185 million, but that will be suspended after he pays $300,000 due to the company’s failing financial condition. If the Court later finds that the financial information the company submitted was false, the full amount of the judgment will come due. The Stipulated Final Order requires Dr. Titzer and his company to file periodic compliance reports.
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