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FTC Charges QVC With Making False Claims for Weight-Loss Products

24 Mar, 2004 Response This Week

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has charged QVC Inc., the largest home shopping channel in the United States, with making deceptive claims for weight-loss products; thereby, violating a June 2000 FTC order. Nearly four years ago, QVC settled the case by promising to substantiate its product claims for For Women Only weight-loss products with scientific evidence. However, the recent complaint alleges QVC violated the 2000 FTC order when it claimed on live broadcasts that For Women Only "Zero Fat" pills prevent absorption of dietary fat.

According to the charges waged against the West Chester, Pa.-based company, the FTC also alleges that QVC made false or unsubstantiated claims for Lite Bites weight-loss products and BeeAlive royal dietary supplements. The FTC further claims QVC violated the FTC Act by making unsubstantiated claims for a purported cellulite treatment called Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion.

At the Commission's request, the Department of Justice filed the suit against QVC on March 24 in federal district court in Philadelphia, seeking civil penalties, consumer redress and other relief.

"QVC's claims for these products are not only unsubstantiated, but for some, scientifically impossible," says Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "No pill or drink can cause anyone to lose 125 pounds."

If found guilty of the allegations, the multibillion-dollar company could face penalties of up to $11,000 per violation, which could add up to millions.

According to a Reuters report, QVC Chief Executive Doug Briggs said the company would contest the charges.

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