An administrator working for the Federal Trade Commission will mail 34,130 refund checks today for approximately $17.89 each to consumers who were deceived into buying “Ab Force” electronic stimulation devices by advertisements that falsely claimed they could help people lose weight. The amount of the checks represents approximately 90 percent of the purchase price for the devices, and consumers who receive these checks will have until December 19, 2010 to cash them.
The FTC found in 2005 that marketers Telebrands Corporation, Ajit Khubani, and TV Savings, L.L.C. violated federal law by making false and deceptive claims that the Ab Force device caused consumers to lose weight, inches, or fat; created well-defined abdominal muscles; and was an effective alternative to conventional exercise. The FTC then asked a federal court to order Telebrands to provide consumer refunds, and Telebrands eventually agreed to pay $7 million to settle the action.
Refund checks were previously sent in July 2009 to more than 50,000 other consumers who bought the devices. No further refund claims for this case will be accepted. Consumers with questions about the refund program can go online or call 1-866-329-5282.
Refund checks from the FTC can be cashed directly by the recipients. The FTC never requires that money be paid up front, or that additional information be provided before consumers cash their refund checks.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.
(FTC Docket No. D-9313)
(Civil Action No. 2:07-cv-3525)