According to Reuters, The FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) reported Monday that Norm Thompson Outfitters has said they will pay $230,000 to settle charges that it engaged in “unfair or deceptive acts or practices, and the making of false advertisements.” Regulators also announced yesterday that Wacoal America has agreed to pay $1.3 million over similar charges. The FTC said the total refunds are expected to be about $1.5 million.
The Hillsboro-based Norm Thompson Outfitters was selling shorts, tights and leggings made of Lystess brand fabric that was infused with microcapsules of caffeine which was advertised to break down fat. This “shapewear” was meant to be worn under outerwear.
In one catalog, the garments were described thusly:
“Caffeinated slimmers take 2″ off hips and 1″ off thighs in just weeks. Made of a micro-massaging fabric that holds a micro-encapsulated formula of powerful natural ingredients, these slimmers work wonders. As it is massaged into skin, caffeine metabolizes fat cells… In under a month, you’ll be visibly slimmer and firmer. ‘Say goodbye to the cellulite and the sag.’ – Dr. Oz.”
The FTC reported that Dr. Oz did not actually endorse the underwear. The company also promised “slimming and firming results are visible in under a month.”
According to the FTC, these weight loss claims were actually based on two studies that “contained significant methodological flaws.” The agency, however, reports that the actual average loss of subjects’ hip circumference “was less than one-sixth of an inch and the average reported reduction in thigh measurement was about one-eighth of an inch” over a period of 28 days.
Wacoal America was advertising clothing that had caffeine, vitamin E and other chemicals that supposedly would cause weight loss. Both Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters agreed to pull all advertisements claiming the caffeine-infused bras, girdles and underwear would result in weight loss and cellulite reduction.
Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC‘s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated: “Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers. 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.”
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