FTC Targets Deceptive Marketing of Weight-Loss “Shapewear”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

deceptive marketingOn September 29, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced settlements with two separate marketers of women’s undergarments who claim that use of their products results in weight loss.  Specifically, both Norm Thompson Outfitters, Inc. and Wacoal America, Inc. have entered into settlement agreements with the FTC, requiring the companies to collectively pay some $1.5 million in consumer refunds.  In the FTC’s announcement, Jessica Rich, the FTC’s Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated “Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight loss’ brew concocted by marketers.  If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear.”  According to the FTC, both marketing companies made claims about the health benefits of their products which were unsupported by any credible studies.

Norm Thompson Outfitters’ Shapewear

The FTC alleged that Norm Thompson Outfitters marketed its “Lytess” women’s undergarments, which incorporate “microcapsules containing caffeine and other ingredients,” as capable of slimming a woman’s body and reducing cellulite.  In its advertising, the company claimed that simply wearing its garments could result in a woman losing 2” off her hips and thighs in a month’s time.  The FTC alleged that the company represented, either expressly or by implication, that scientific tests had proven that its garments substantially reduce a wearer’s hip and thigh size.  However, the “studies” relied on by Norm Thompson Outfitters to support its advertising claims were “unblinded and uncontrolled, and . . . contained significant methodological flaws.”

As part of its settlement with the FTC, Norm Thompson Outfitters has agreed to discontinue the publication of advertising that contains claims that any of its clothing contains drugs or cosmetics that will cause weight loss.  In addition, Norm Thompson Outfitters will pay $230,000.00 into a fund which the FTC will use to refund consumers.

Wacoal America’s Shapewear

The FTC also alleged that Wacoal America falsely advertised that its “iPants” garments were capable of stimulating weight loss.  Wacoal America purportedly sold bike shorts, tights and leggings containing caffeine and other ingredients that allegedly stimulate weight loss.  Wacoal America advertised that wearing its iPants 8 hours a day, 7 days a week for 28 days would stimulate weight loss.  However, according to the FTC, Wacoal America either relied on non-existent studies, or exaggerated the results of unblind and uncontrolled studies in making its claims.

As a result of its settlement with the FTC, Wacoal America will pay $1,300,000.00 into a fund which the FTC will use to refund consumers.  Wacoal America is also prohibited from marketing any “shapewear” clothing in the future that contains health benefit claims.

Protect Yourself

The FTC has been aggressively targeting advertisers’ health-related marketing claims.  (See recent FTC Settlements).  These settlements underscore the fact that marketers which tout the health benefits of their products must ensure that any and all advertising claims are supported by credible and reliable clinical studies.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, or if you have been served with legal process relating to deceptive advertising, please e-mail us at info@kleinmoynihan.com or call us at (212) 246-0900.

The material contained herein is provided for informational purposes only and is not legal advice, nor is it a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.  Each situation is unique, and you should not act or rely on any information contained herein without seeking the advice of an experienced attorney.

Attorney Advertising

David O. Klein

David O. Klein

David Klein is one of the most recognized attorneys in the telemarketing, technology, Internet marketing, sweepstakes and telecommunications fields. Skilled at counseling clients on a broad range of technology-related matters, David Klein has substantial experience in negotiating and drafting complex licensing, marketing and Internet agreements.

Schedule a Call
In The Know

Trending Topics

New York Sweepstakes Law blog- Klein Moynihan Turco

New York Sweepstakes Law: Are You Compliant?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In general, a lottery exists when entrants pay for the chance to win a prize. States alone reserve the right to administer lotteries. Businesses can eliminate one element of what would otherwise be an illegal lottery, in order to transform it into a legal promotional game. If the requirement to

TCPA surveys

An Ad or not an Ad: NY Weighs in on TCPA Surveys

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Another day, another court decision that refines constitutes a Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) unsolicited fax advertisement. A Manhattan-based federal court recently issued a decision that removes faxed invitations to participate in a survey from the TCPA definition of advertisement. In drawing this distinction for TCPA surveys, the Court held

NY sports gambling law- Klein Moynihan Turco

Agreement Reached to Enact NY Sports Gambling Law

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed to a budget deal that will bring mobile sports betting to the State through a unique NY sports gambling law.  Upon the Governor’s signature, NY sports gambling is primed to become the nation’s largest market. However, New York

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

UK and US Social Media Influencer Laws

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

In September of 2020, the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) reviewed the Instagram accounts of 122 UK-based social media influencers to determine whether content was being properly flagged as advertising in accordance with applicable social media influencer laws. This past March, the UK Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”)

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin