Investigation into web company selling anti-aging products

1.00pm

New Zealand's Commerce Commission is helping the US investigate a company suspected of selling fake "eternal youth" beauty products, it confirmed today.

Spokeswoman Jackie Maitland confirmed the commission had been recently asked to assist the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), but said the case was "too sensitive" to comment further for fear of jeopardising the investigation.

"The nature of what we're doing and the extent of our assistance, I am unable to discuss in detail," she told NZPA.

The FTC yesterday filed civil action against Global Web Promotions Pty Ltd, an Australian-based company also operating in New Zealand.

It says the company is responsible for sending some 400,000 spam e-mails advertising diet patches and so-called human growth hormone products "HGH" and "Natural HGH" purported to "maintain (a user's) appearance and current biological age for the next 10 to 20 years."

The FTC said the hormone products selling for US$74.95 ($122) contained no growth hormones and had no effect, and that a diet patch selling for US$80.90 was also worthless.

Authorities said they received cooperation from internet providers including America Online and Microsoft.

The FTC was also aided by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The New Zealand Companies' Office had no record of a company called Global Web Promotions registered here.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also refused to comment on the case today, aside from confirming it had been asked to assist the FTC.

Public Relations manager Lin Enright said it was a policy not to comment on ongoing investigations. She would not confirm whether Australia was carrying out its own, separate investigation of Global Web Promotions.

- NZPA

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