5 Times Companies Tried To Straight Up Scam Us

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by Lydia Bugg

We have respect for a well-thought-out scam, but not when it’s a major corporation trying to pull the lettuce right out of our pockets. And it turns out there are a whole lot of companies out there that have made money off of selling products they know are straight up crap.


GOOP Exists In A World Without Science

Gwyneth Paltrow created an entire industry around convincing women to put things in or on their vaginas for health purposes, and now she’s been sued for it. I know it sounds crazy, but it turns out that jade eggs that you cram up your V-hole and are recharged with moonlight (that’s not a joke -- they really claimed that) were found to be scientifically unsubstantiated. Who could have guessed?

According to Goop’s lawyers “Goop provides a forum for practitioners to present their views and experiences with various products like the jade egg. The law, though, sometimes views statements like this as advertising claims, which are subject to various legal requirements.” 

Oh, law, you ruin everybody’s fun. Poor Gwyneth is just trying to make an honest living, and here you are, forcing her to know what “advertising claims” mean. Unfortunately, since the law doesn’t understand Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop is being forced to pay a $145,000 settlement for unfounded claims made about the jade eggs and the “inner judge flower essence blend of essential oil.”



This one turns you into Wolverine. And that one …

Several of the articles written about the lawsuit mainly talk about the jade eggs, because they’ve been widely mocked across social media for years. The essential oil had a much more dangerous promise attached to it though: Goop claimed it could “prevent shame spirals downward toward depressive states.” Any time a product starts making claims about helping mental health issues, that can be downright dangerous. Even legitimate medications come with a ten mile long disclaimer.

But don’t worry about Paltrow’s future. She’s learned a valuable lesson from all of this: She now knows that she can piss off the world by making ridiculous, false claims about products … and then turn the ensuing mockery into money.

Kinoki Foot Pads Are Basically Mood Rings 

In 2009, Kinoki Foot Pads were charged by the FTC for deceptive advertising. If you don’t remember seeing late night infomercials for the footpads, they basically looked like big bandages for the bottom of your feet. Supposedly they pulled “heavy metals and metabolic waste” out through your feet when worn overnight. At one point, Kinoki was charging thirty dollars per month for all the nightly footpads you could use.

Over time, their claims grew to include removing “cellulite and toxins” from the body, and treating depression, fatigue, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The pads’ effectiveness was supposedly proven by the collection of black gunk that could be found on the white pads the morning after use. The only problem (besides everything about this product) is that the black gunk was caused by a reaction to heat.




Reporters placed Kinoki footpads over a teakettle and near a fire, and found that the pads would change color. So unless water vapor is full of toxins, the pads literally did nothing but react to body heat.

Once this became public knowledge, Kinoki never recovered from the— HAHAHA, just kidding; you can still buy them online from Walmart for $5.98. They now claim to be “Certified as being beneficial for” everything from weight loss and fatigue, to depression. OK, so Kinoki footpads didn’t really help anybody, but at least they didn’t actively hurt people like ...

Norelco Water Machines Make Water Way Less Clean

In 1982, Norelco started producing their clean water machine. Within a month of introducing it to the public they became aware that the replacement filter cartridges were sealed with a cement containing methylene chloride, a known carcinogen that leaked into the filtered water. Instead of purifying it, using the filter made the “purified water” potentially cancerous.

According to an FTC case against the company, they knew about the risk … but company officials thought that it was slight and continued to sell the product for two full years. In fact, they only discontinued the filter due to poor sales (people didn’t buy it because it was too expensive). Even after its discontinuation, they continued to sell the tainted cartridges until 1986. That’s a special kind of evil, normally reserved for tobacco companies.



Of course it’s bad for you. But man, these stock prices are raging.

When not not-purifying water, methylene chloride is a compound often used in paint strippers and degreasers. It’s not a cute carcinogen like bacon that we all know is bad for us but we still love anyway ... this was a pretty dangerous chemical that Norelco was adding to people’s water, all while advertising their machine’s ability to “remove up to ninety percent” of impurities. “Then we add, like— 75% of our own special impurities,” they presumably whispered.

The company sold 354,000 contaminated filters. In 1987 the FTC filed a false advertising complaint against Norelco, which they won. A class action suit that followed forced Norelco to pay $2.5 million to refund the purchasers of the product.

Juicero: The $400 Unnecessary Juicer

OK, so no juicer is necessary, but Juicero is especially bad. When it first came out, it was by far one of the most expensive juicers on the market with a starting price of $699. The price eventually dropped to a still insane $399, and it actually sold fairly well. Silicon valley investors poured $120 million into the startup, because the world is crazy, and deception is more rewarded than talent.

When you purchased a Juicero you also had to purchase a subscription for the juice packets, which were supposedly specially designed to work with the fancy machine. The fun thing about these packets is they can just as easily be squeezed by hand. In other words, the $400 juicer did next to nothing.

According to Juicero, the juicer is necessary because it is more consistent and less messy than just squeezing the juice packets by hand. It also reads QR codes printed on the back of each produce pack to make sure that the contents haven’t expired or been recalled. Again, a thing a human being could totally do manually for significantly less than four hundred dollars.



Because why exert effort like a heathen?

In 2017, Bloomberg news posted a competition between the juicer and a reporter squeezing the juice packet. It was a real vegan John Henry situation. They found that squeezing the packet by hand could actually produce the same amount of juice, sometimes even faster than the machine.

Juicero’s CEO took to social media to cut open a packet and prove that there was more inside than just already processed juice being served by a fancy robot, but the general public still wasn’t impressed. Which I’m certain is why the company ended up going out of business.

Cadbury Eggs Lied About Making Its Eggs Smaller

Cadbury has been making their famous Cadbury Crème Eggs since 1963, and they’ve been lying about them since at least 2007. That was the year Cadbury Egg superfan B.J. Novak called them out on Conan O’Brien for lying about reducing the size of their eggs.

After noticing the eggs looked smaller, he consulted Cadbury’s website which claimed the size of the egg hadn’t changed, but that instead, “You’ve just grown up!” This is an especially heinous lie, because it’s so believable. Of course everything looked bigger when I was younger … last year. But in fact, the treat had shrunk from a 170 calorie snack that weighed 39 grams to 150 calories and 34 grams in the U.S. market.

Novak scoured his house for an egg from a previous year and was able to show the size difference on national television. It doesn’t sound like much, but it actually turns out to be quite noticeable in the final product.


Part of the issue is that three different manufacturers in three different countries produce Cadbury eggs. Kraft, the United States manufacturer, decided to shrink the size of the egg (without a price change) while the UK egg remains the same as it has always been. Not only did Kraft shrink the egg, but they also replaced the Cadbury dairy milk of the shell with what some consumers find to be a lower grade cocoa mix chocolate.

A storeowner who got a slap on the wrist from Cadbury for selling the UK eggs in the US reportedly told the company that he wouldn’t sell the US eggs “to a dog that I hated.” Think of that the next time Easter rolls around and you’re stuck in the land of the free, the home of the terrible Cadbury Crème Eggs.

Like this article? Check out “The Weirdest Products That Scammers Have Counterfeited” and “4 Ridiculous Scams We Feel Guilty For Laughing At”.

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