We all know that the only real way to lose weight is through diet and exercise, but who wants to do either of those things? That’s why companies find it so profitable to trick the gullible into believing that their powders, pills, or creams will help you shed the pounds with little effort.
And on Tuesday, the Federal Trade Commission nailed four of the latest firms trying to do just that.
The biggest culprit was Sensa, which marketed a powdered food additive that it claimed would suppress the eaters appetite. “Sensa is clinically proven to help you lose 30 pounds without dieting or spending all your time at the gym,” its advertisements said. “Get a gym body without going to the gym,” read another claim.
The FTC came down hard on Sensa for being unable to prove such claims, and ordered the company to pay $46.5 million in restitution, though that figure was reduced to $26.5 million due to the company’s inability to pay.
L’Occitane was hawking skin creams called “Almond Beautiful Shape” and “Almond Shaping Delight.” In its advertisements L’Occitane claimed that its creams could actually somehow make you skinnier, saying that application of the cream could produce a ““noticeably slimmer, firmer you … (in just 4 weeks!).”
Though the company charged between $44 and $48 for just seven ounces of the stuff, it didn’t actually deliver on its promises, and now has been forced to pay $450,000 in restitution to its customers.
Another firm, HCG Diet Direct was forced to pay $3.2 million to its defrauded customers after being unable to back up claims that its liquid homeopathic hCG drops would help users quickly lose weight. According to the FTC, “the company claimed that consumers would rapidly lose substantial amounts of weight (up to one pound a day) by placing a highly diluted concentration of homeopathic HCG solution under their tongues before meals and adhering to a very low-calorie diet.”
Oh yeah, and HGC also lied and said that its product was FDA approved, when it wasn’t.
Finally, the FTC reached a settlement with LeanSpa which requires the company’s owner Boris Mizhen to give up $7 million in cash, real estate and personal property in order to compensate for false claims about the company’s acai berry and “colon cleanse” weight-loss products. Mizhen was also censured for lying to customers about free-trial deals. LeanSpa said that customers only had to pay a nominal shipping cost, when in fact they were charged roughly $80 for the samples, and recurring monthly shipments were difficult to cancel.