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Quebec Firm Settles FTC Charges

WASHINGTON--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported Canada-based Quebec Inc., dba in the United States as Bio Lab, settled with the agency over charges the company deceived consumers through false and unsubstantiated advertising of its weight-loss and cellulite products. This is the latest action FTC has taken to curb the prevalence of weight-loss products carrying and being promoted with misleading claims. Late last year, the agency released guidelines for the media to help with deciding which weight-loss ads are appropriate.

In this instance, FTC alleged Quebec Inc. promoted Quick Slim Fat Blocker as a way to quickly lose substantial amounts of weight--as much as two pounds per day--without diet or exercise, and that the weight loss would be permanent. FTC (www.ftc.gov) also alleged the defendants, which include president Jean-Francois Brochu, misrepresented Cellu-Fight as clinically proven to eliminate cellulite from the stomach, hips, thighs and derriere. The settlement prohibits the defendants from representing weight-loss products as causing rapid or substantial weight loss without diet or exercise and cellulite treatment products as reducing or eliminating cellulite.

The final order prohibits the defendants from selling or disclosing their customer mailing lists for these two products to other marketers. The order also allows FTC to collect thousands of consumer letters currently held for the defendants at Mail Boxes Etc. nationwide--the estimated value of these orders is more than $100,000. The order requires the defendants to pay $40,000 in consumer redress.

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