FTC Cracks Down on Weight-Loss Claims

We’ve all seen them in the Sunday newspaper, in our Facebook feed, on the radio: ads for weight-loss products that claim to make it easy to lose weight without diets or strenuous exercise. They sound too good to be true. The Federal Trade Commission just said that’s exactly the case.

Yesterday, the FTC announced a major law enforcement initiative to stop deceptive advertising of weight-loss products. They specifically charged Sensa, L’Occitane, HCG Direct Diet, and LeanSpa with making unfounded promises, and some of the companies are going to have to return funds to customers. According to an FTC press release, “In total, the weight-loss marketers will pay approximately $34 million for consumer redress. In addition to the $26.5 million to be paid by Sensa, L’Occitane, Inc. will pay $450,000, and the LeanSpa settling defendants will surrender assets totalling an estimated $7.3 million. The judgment against the HCG Diet Direct defendants is suspended due to their inability to pay.”

“Resolutions to lose weight are easy to make but hard to keep,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “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.”

The FTC offers guidance for consumers on its Weight Loss and Fitness website. No easy fixes, I’m afraid. The solution is to eat less and move more. That’s my new year’s resolution!

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About Katherine Hutt

Katherine R. Hutt, Director of Communications and Media Relations with the Council of Better Business Bureaus, is an award-winning communicator who has been helping nonprofit organizations tell their stories for the past 25 years. She was a CBBB consultant on numerous projects for more than a decade before joining the staff in 2011.