At this point, I think all of us know that Instagram detox teas are bullsh*t. No, Khloé Kardashian didn’t get an entirely new body from drinking diarrhea tea—sorry if I’m crushing your dreams. But even though most of us can see right through the wild claims that influencers make, it’s important for the government to hold these people accountable. Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruled that Teami, one of the most prevalent fit tea companies on Instagram, must pay one million dollars to “consumers who were harmed.”
In their statement on the ruling, the FTC said that “Teami and its owners earned millions making unsubstantiated claims about their tea products and promoted those claims using paid influencers who failed to appropriately disclose their connections to the company, even after being warned to stop.” Pretty much, they knew what they were doing wasn’t okay, but they kept doing it anyway. This is also applicable to me making unhealthy choices over the weekend, but the government has never fined me for that (yet).
According to the FTC’s Business Blog—which I didn’t know was a thing, and will now be bookmarking—Teami sold more than $15 million worth of products by making bogus claims about how the products could “fight against cancerous cells,” cause rapid weight loss, decrease migraines, and unclog arteries. Honestly, it’s insane that people believed some sketchy-looking tea could do any of this stuff in the first place, but we’ve all fallen for something dumb at one point or another. (For me, it’s typically guys who say they like me and yet their actions prove the exact opposite, but to each their own.)
In their post about the case, the FTC seems particularly heated about the way that Teami uses influencer marketing to shill their products. They note that Teami advertises with many “celebrities and influencers, some of whom have now been sent warning letters reminding them of their legal obligation to disclose their connections to the products they promote.” Celebrities mentioned in the post include Cardi B, Jordin Sparks, and Adrienne Bailon, but shockingly no Kardashians made the list (even though Adrienne is a Kardashian ex, TBT). They should be thanking their lucky stars, because I could probably write a book about all the sketchy ads they’ve posted on their Instagram pages over the years.
Reading about the specifics of Teami’s case, I have to wonder, why is someone as famous as Cardi B even doing this sh*t? I’m sure she has more money than she knows what to do with, so is it really worth it to partner with shady Instagram brands like this? After getting a warning letter from the FTC, I’d imagine she’ll be more careful about what she posts, but you never know—people really forget how to act when there’s a #spon check in the equation. Cardi, please stick to FashionNova ads and posts about Bernie Sanders, that’s where you shine!
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So, is this ruling the beginning of the end for Teami? Probably not, considering I just opened Instagram and literally the first post I saw was Lisa Rinna hocking the Teami Vitamin C serum. Thankfully, she used the #TeamiPartner hashtag, so she doesn’t have to worry about the FTC sliding into her
DMs mailbox with a warning letter. She also kept the magical claims vague, just saying that the serum has “brightening properties.” Honestly, I believe it. But if Khloé Kardashian starts saying that a Vitamin C serum is going to cure the Coronavirus and make you lose 50 pounds, I’ll have some major questions, and the FTC won’t be far behind. Use your common sense, people!
Images: II.studio / Shutterstock.com; lisarinna / Instagram; Erika Quezada / YouTube