CCFC urges FTC Action against Robert Titzer and Infant Learning Company for violating FTC Consent Order Prohibiting the Marketing of Baby Videos as Educational

Date of Release: 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Contact: David Monahan (617-896-9397, david@commercialfreechildhood.org)

BOSTON, MA  – Today, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to enforce a Consent Order which prohibited Robert Titzer and Infant Learning Company (ILC) from making false or deceptive claims in marketing Your Baby Can Read! and similar products. In a letter to the FTC, CCFC asserted that Titzer and ILC have resumed selling Your Baby Can Read! under a new product name, Your Baby Can Learn!.

Today’s action by CCFC is its latest effort in an ongoing campaign to hold the “genius baby” media industry accountable for false and deceptive marketing. It follows up on its 2011 request that the FTC investigate Titzer for falsely and deceptively claiming that Your Baby Can Read!, a set of DVDs costing $200, could teach very young babies to read. As a result of CCFC’s complaint, the FTC filed an action against Titzer and ILC in the Southern District Court of California. The case was ultimately settled in 2014, and the Consent Order prohibits Titzer and ILC from:

  • using the name Your Baby Can Read!
  • misrepresenting the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any product or service for teaching reading or speech, or enhancing language ability, cognitive ability, school performance, or brain development; 
  • misrepresenting that scientific support exists for such assertions; 
  • making false expert endorsements. 

In addition, the Consent Order imposed a fine of $186.4 million, most of which was suspended because Titzer and ILC had gone bankrupt. 

But Titzer and ILC are back in business. CCFC’s new filing alleges that Titzer and ILC are now marketing Your Baby Can Read! under the name Your Baby Can Learn! on their website. They are using nearly identical claims of educational benefit to sell Your Baby Can Learn!, in clear violation of the Consent Order. In addition, they are making false and misleading claims about new products, Your Child Can Read! and Your Child Can Discover!.

“The Consent Order requires that Robert Titzer and his company have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support claims about the educational benefits of their products,” said Eric Null, Senior Staff Attorney at Georgetown Law’s Institute for Public Representation, which represents CCFC. “Yet, Titzer and ILC are making claims that their videos teach children perfect pitch, logic patterns, and math concepts, without any scientific support for these claims.”

“Robert Titzer is preying upon parents’ good intentions by peddling digital snake oil,” said CCFC’s Executive Director Josh Golin. “There is no evidence that videos are an effective method of teaching babies anything, let alone a complex skill like reading. Once again, we need the FTC to take action to protect our youngest and most vulnerable children from being lured to screens under false pretenses.”

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