FTC: Reebok to pay $25 million for deceptive advertising of toning shoes

Reebok spokesman Dan Sarro responded to the FTC settlement:

"We stand behind our EasyTone technology – the first shoe in the toning category that was inspired by balance-ball training. Settling does not mean we agree with the FTC’s allegations; we do not.  We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the further development of our EasyTone line of products. Our customers are our number one priority, and we will continue to deliver products that they trust and love.'

Reebok agreed to pay $25 million to settle a government complaint that the shoe manufacturer made unsubstantiated claims that EasyTone and RunTone shoes would strengthen and tone legs and butts.

That money will go into a pool to reimburse consumers who paid $80 to $100 for the shoes.

David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a news conference this morning that advertisers must have adequate substantiation of health claims before making them.  

In this case, the FTC says, Reebok advertised that its shoes would increase the toning of buttock muscles by 28 percent and boost the strength and tone of hamstring muscles by 11 percent.

The ads ran in 2009 and 2010.

Vladeck says Reebok pulled the ads once the FTC started investigating. He says Reebok also has instructed retailers to remove prohibited ads and promotion materials and was sending stickers to conceal health claims that might appear on boxes.

A court still must approve the settlement. Consumers who bought the shoes can make a claim online for a refund.  Vladeck says the FTC doesn’t know how much each consumer will receive until the agency sees how many customers file a claim.


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