The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) obtained a $1.75 million settlement against a dietary supplement manufacturer and distributor for multiple violations of consumer protection laws, including falsely advertising that use of their product results in increased penis size. In addition to the new violations, the settlement against Biotab Nutraceuticals, Inc. (Biotab) is also the largest in Orange County history obtained for violating the injunctive terms of a previous OCDA consumer protection settlement.
The lawsuit pertains to Biotab products marketed and sold throughout the State of California and states that the company engaged in false and misleading advertising in the marketing and sale of certain dietary supplement products, including ExtenZe, which they falsely claimed without any substantiation, would enhance a man’s penis size.
In 2006, the OCDA obtained a $300,000 settlement against the principals of Biotab and the former manufacturer and distributor of ExtenZe, Dish Direct, Inc., for making the same untrue claims regarding penile enlargement. The 2006 settlement included injunctive terms prohibiting false advertising and unsubstantiated claims. The current case is both a violation of consumer protection laws and the previous injunction.
The current lawsuit also states that Biotab violated Proposition 65, which requires products that expose consumers to over one-half microgram of lead per day to be marked with a warning label. An investigation by the OCDA revealed that multiple lot numbers of the ExtenZe product contained over the legal limit of micrograms of lead without proper warning labels.
The 2006 injunction barred the company from selling supplements containing lead in violation of California law. As a term of the most recent settlement, Biotab is now required to follow a strict testing protocol for all of its products.
The current lawsuit also states that Biotab failed to reimburse customers in a timely fashion for returned products. In some cases, Biotab failed to provide any refund and also sent and charged customers for products that had not been ordered. These unfair business practices also constitute violations of the 2006 injunction.
Biotab, which has not admitted fault or liability, has agreed to injunctive terms to prevent any future unfair business practices related to the above offenses. In addition to the $1.75 million in civil penalties, which will be used for future enforcement of California consumer protection laws, Biotab is also required to pay restitution to consumers who have not already received refunds and who filed documented complaints with Biotab, the Better Business Bureau, or the California Attorney General between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2011.
Deputy District Attorney Tracy Hughes of the Consumer Protection Unit prosecuted this case.