The FTC is not taking its foot off the gas in its ongoing effort to crack down on unfounded weight-loss claims. Just a week into 2014, the agency announced the second-biggest deceptive advertising settlement in its history as part of “Operation Failed Resolution.”
As part of the initiative targeting unsubstantiated claims by weight-loss marketers touting food additives, skin cream and dietary supplements, FTC announced roughly $34 million in payments that defendants agreed to render to compensate consumers.
The marketers of the powdered food additive Sensa agreed to return US $26.5 million to consumers. That is $13.5 million shy of the whopping $40 million Sketchers USA Inc. agreed to pay in 2012 to settle allegedly deceptive claims that its Shape-Ups shoes would help individuals shed weight, and strengthen and tone their abdominal muscles, buttocks and legs.
Marketers of weight-loss products should keep in mind that advertising claims must be truthful, not misleading, and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The FTC will perceive claims of losing weight without diet or exercise with increased skepticism, dietary supplement lawyer Justin Prochnow has cautioned clients. The same goes for claims touting a product as a ‘magic’ or ‘miracle pill,’” he said.
Get more information in the INSIDER Digital Issue, “Weighing In.”