TINA.org Refers Publisher Agora to FTC for Enforcement Action

Investigation Reveals Deception & Dark Patterns

Madison, Connecticut, UNITED STATES


MADISON, CONN., June 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Despite a $2 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in February 2021, publishing giant Monument & Cathedral Holdings, better known as Agora, and related entities have persisted in targeting seniors with deceptive marketing, according to an investigation by truthinadvertising.org (TINA.org). The ad watchdog cataloged more than 300 videos, transcripts, web posts, order pages, and print materials marketed by multiple companies in Agora’s vast ecosystem that use deceptive marketing in order to manipulate seniors into purchasing products and programs.TINA.org has filed a complaint with the FTC urging it to take appropriate enforcement action to stop Agora from exploiting seniors.

Known primarily for its array of books, subscriptions and newsletters hawking health and financial advice to retirees, Agora’s multilegged marketing machine is comprised of more than 80 entities selling more than 400 products, programs, and services including nutritional supplements and publication subscriptions. TINA.org found numerous Agora marketing materials peddling publications purportedly featuring “secrets” for fighting cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and other conditions that disproportionally affect older adults. One video even promotes a “Coronavirus Vaccine Survival Guide,” which is “in limited supply” and contains information about “safe, alternative solutions [to the coronavirus vaccine] you simply will not hear about from Big Pharma or mainstream medicine.” None of the materials reviewed by TINA.org revealed any secret disease treatments or preventions that are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

Agora entities also exploit those looking to secure their financial wellbeing and make unrealistic guarantees of putting seniors “on the path to an independent, wealthy retirement in no time” and fattening their “retirement nest egg” without clearly disclosing many of the risks associated with the investment strategies. In reality, the publications and programs that Agora offers, some of which cost as much as $5,000, are primarily lining Agora’s pockets.

Moreover, the investigation found that Agora uses a number of dark patterns to convince seniors to forgo their physician-recommended medications and therapies in lieu of their unproven products and revelations, and to pay for deceptively marketed financial subscriptions. From creating a false sense of urgency with claims of “limited supply” to burying automatic renewal notices in the fine print and more, Agora entities employ a multitude of dark patterns to take advantage of their target audience.

To read more about TINA.org’s investigation of Agora’s deceptive marketing, see: www.truthinadvertising.org/agora-still-using-deception-dark-patterns-ensnare-seniors/

 

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