The marketers behind Ab Circle Pro – who claimed using the gadget for just three minutes a day for two weeks would lead to a 10-pound weight loss – agreed to pay up to $25 million in refunds to settle a complaint lodged by the Federal Trade Commission.
If you bought an Ab Circle Pro, click here file a refund claim.
The product, which was featured in infomercials, sold for $200 or more. The FTC said it was also sold in retail establishments at varying prices.
The FTC has been going after marketing companies that claim miraculous weight loss or health gains by using a product.
"The FTC reminds marketers that they should think twice before promising a silver-bullet solution to a health problem – whether it involves losing weight or curing cancer," said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Weight loss is hard work, and telling consumers otherwise is deceptive.”
The FTC said versions of the TV ads for Ab Circle Pro aired more than 10,000 times between March 2009 and May 2010.
Defendants in the case are Fitness Brands, Inc., Fitness Brands International, Inc., their leaders, Michael Casey and David Brodess; Direct Holdings Americas, Inc. and Direct Entertainment Media Group, Inc.; infomercial producer Tara Borakos and two companies she controls, Tara Productions Inc. and New U, Inc.; as well as Jennifer Nicole Lee and two companies she controls, JNL, Inc. and JNL Worldwide, Inc.
All the defendants, except Lee and her companies, are charged with making false and/or unsupported claims.
Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. is also named because it received proceeds from subsidiaries Direct Holdings Americas and Direct Entertainment Media Group.
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About the author
Mitch Lipka is one of America's leading consumer journalists and advocates. He is an expert in product safety, recalls, scams, and helping consumers get out of jams. He is a nationally known consumer columnist and runs TheConsumerChronicle.com. He lives in Worcester. You can find him on Facebook or reach him at ConsumerNews@Aol.com