FTC curbs weight-loss claims

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has gone after four companies for making false claims about weight-loss products, ordering fines and calls to stop the deceptive advertising.

The FTC calls its efforts to stop misleading claims about easy weight loss “Operation Failed Resolution” And the most recent action targets the marketers of Sensa, who will pay $26.5 million for marketing  that tells consumers they can "sprinke, eat and lose weight." Funds will be used to reimburse consumers.

The FTC also said the marketers of L'Occitane claimed a skin cream would slim users' bodies without scientific evidence and ordered them to pay $450,000. The marketers of HCG Diet Direct were peddling a human hormone that they said was a weight-loss treatment. Their orders to pay were suspended due to an inability to pay.

The FTC said a partial settlement was reached with LeanSpa that promoted acai berry and "colon cleanse" weight-loss supplements through fake news websites and was ordered to pay $7.3 million.

“Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a statement.  “And the chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none.  The science just isn’t there.”

Together, the marketers will pay about $34 million, and officials are trying to determine how to provide redress to consumers. Information will eventually be posted here

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