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FTC Drops the Hammer on False Advertising of Weight Loss Product

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reached a $26.5 million settlement with the makers of “Sensa,” a product that could allegedly help you lose weight if you just sprinkled it on your food. weight loss

However, those claims were proven to be misleading by the FTC, which also announced similar actions against L’Occitane, which sells a “slimming” body cream; HCG Diet Direct, which sells an unproven human hormone treatment, and LeanSpa, which promotes a “colon cleanse.” None of these products are legit, according to the FTC.

This crackdown on false advertising for weight loss products is part of an FTC effort to collect $34 million on behalf of consumers.

“This is the second-biggest deceptive advertising settlement in FTC history,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said at a news conference.

“The chances of being successful at substantial weight loss just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing creams on your body or just using a supplement, well, they’re slim to none.”

The FTC is collecting money from the companies to pay back to consumers who bought the products.

Despite the settlement, the makers of Sensa seem unrepentant.

“Sensa Products, LLC made a business decision to settle with the FTC so it could focus on the core of its business: its customers. The settlement includes no admission of wrongful conduct by the company,” the company said in a statement. “The company has agreed to make changes to its advertising claims but otherwise will continue business as usual.”

The FTC is also asking newspapers, magazines, television and other media outlets to stop carrying false and misleading ads.

And the agency is publishing some common sense guidelines to help consumers and media ad-buyers spot the most outrageously false claims, such as:

  • Lose weight without diet or exercise! “The only thing you’ll lose is money,” the FTC advises
  • Lose weight no matter how much you eat of your favorite foods! “Losing weight requires sensible food choices,” the FTC says.
  • Just take a pill! “Doctors, dieticians, and other experts agree that there’s simply no magic way to lose weight without diet or exercise. Even pills approved by FDA to block the absorption of fat or help you eat less and feel full are to be taken with a low-calorie, low-fat diet and regular exercise,” the FTC notes.
  • Lose weight with our miracle diet patch or cream! “There’s nothing you can wear or apply to your skin that will cause you to lose weight,” the agency says.
Tags: false advertising, Federal Trade Commission, Sensa
January 9, 2014 at 7:07 am
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