FTC Goes Commando on Bogus Weight-Loss Products11 Nov, 2004 Response This Week
WASHINGTON- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) unleashed “Operation
Big Fat Lie” yesterday, a nationwide attack on companies trying to sell
bogus weight-loss products.
The Commission listed the three main goals of the campaign, which are to stop deceptive advertising and provide refunds to consumers who were harmed by the products, encourage media outlets to not carry advertisements riddled with unsubstantiated claims and to educate consumers about the “miracle” supplements that promise weight loss without diet and exercise.
The FTC specifically targeted six companies in “Operation Big Fat Lie.” The complaints against all of the companies allege that they used at least one of seven “bogus weight-loss claims” that the Commission lists in the “Red Flag” media campaign, which debuted in December 2003 to help consumers weigh evidence in diet ads.
The companies named in the complaints are: Selfworx.com LLC, which sells gel-a-thin and Ultra LipoLean; Femina Inc., which sells 1-2-3 Reduce Fat, Siluette Patch and Fat Seltzer Reduce; CHK Trading Co. Inc, which sells Hanmeilin Cellulite Cream; Natural Products, which sells Bio Trim or Body Trim; New England Diet Center, which sells Chinese Diet Tea and the Bio-Slim Patch; and AVS Marketing Inc., which sells the Himalayan Diet Breakthrough.
“False and misleading advertisements are about as credible as a note from the Tooth Fairy,” FTC Chair Deborah Platt Majoras said in a statement yesterday. “As part of our ‘no tolerance’ policy, we are announcing six new cases against advertisers using bogus weight-loss claims. By also working with the media outlets to reject false ads and educating consumers to make informed choices, the FTC hopes to keep this national obesity epidemic from getting worse.”