Two marketers of women’s shapewear have settled Federal Trade Commission charges over slimming claims for their products and have agreed to refund consumers who bought the items a total of $1.5 million.
The proposed orders settling the FTC’s complaints bar Wacoal America Inc. and Norm Thompson Outfitters Inc. from making false and unsubstantiated claims about their caffeine-infused shapewear, which the government agency said was not substantiated by scientific evidence.
“Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear. The best approach is tried and true: diet and exercise.”
The FTC’s complaint against Norm Thompson Outfitters alleges the company deceptively advertised, marketed and sold women’s undergarments infused with microencapsulated caffeine, retinol and other ingredients, claiming the shapewear would slim and reshape the wearer’s body and reduce cellulite. The products, made with Lytess brand fabrics, were sold via mail order and on the company’s Norm Thompson Outfitters, Sahalie, Solutions and Body Belle Web sites.
The complaint against Wacoal America charges that the company made false and unsubstantiated claims that wearing its iPants would substantially reduce cellulite, cause a substantial reduction in the wearer’s thigh measurements and destroy fat cells, resulting in substantial slimming. The complaint alleges that claims from both companies are not true or substantiated by scientific evidence, and therefore also violate the FTC Act.
The proposed administrative consent orders settling the charges against Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America ban the companies from claiming that any garment that contains any drug or cosmetic causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size. In addition, the companies are prohibited from making claims that any drug or cosmetic reduces or eliminates cellulite or reduces body fat, unless they are not misleading and can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.
The orders also require Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters to pay $1.3 million and $230,000, respectively, that the FTC can use to provide refunds to consumers who bought the caffeinated shapewear.