FOR RELEASE: FEBRUARY 25, 1993
FTC CHARGES MARKETER OF "CPM" TABLES WITH MAKING FALSE WEIGHT-LOSS CLAIMS; CONSENT AGREEMENT WOULD SETTLE CHARGES
Fleetwood Manufacturing, Inc., based in Mesa, Arizona, and its owner, Thomas A. Fleetwood, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false and unsubstantiated weight-loss claims in advertisements and promotional materials for their continuous passive motion ("CPM") exercise tables. Under the proposed settlement, the respondents would be pro- hibited from making such false and unsubstantiated claims in the future. Fleetwood manufactured and sold its CPM tables contending that they offer users weight-loss and physical-fitness benefits without the effort and pain associated with traditional forms of exercise. The tables generally come in sets of five to seven, with each table designed to exercise a different group of muscles. Fleetwood advertised nationwide by radio, television, in magazines, newspapers and through the mail.
According to the FTC complaint detailing the charges, Fleetwood falsely claimed that with little or no effort consumers who use CPM tables can reduce body weight, lose inches, remove cellulite, tone and firm muscles, and provide physical fitness benefits comparable or superior to those provided by rigorous exercise. The complaint alleges that the claims are false, and that Fleetwood did not have a reasonable basis for making them. Finally, the FTC alleged that consumer testimonials and endorse- ments in Fleetwood's advertising falsely represented that the inch-loss or weight-loss experienced by these consumers was typical or ordinary.
- more - Fleetwood Manufacturing--02/25/93)
Under the proposed consent agreement settling these charges, issued today for public comment, Fleetwood would be prohibited from representing that use of its CPM tables in a manner requiring little or no effort:
-- reduces or helps to reduce overall body fat or fat in any particular area of the body;
-- results in, or contributes to, inch-loss or weight-loss or the reduction of any part of the body;
-- tones or firms human tissue, including muscle tissue;
-- removes or eliminates cellulite or any other form of subcutaneous body fat; or
-- provides health or physical fitness benefits similar or superior to those provided by rigorous exercise for normal, healthy individuals.
Further, Fleetwood would be prohibited from making any of these representations for any passive exercise machine, or diet or fitness program, under any conditions unless it possessed "competent and reliable" scientific evidence to substantiate such claims.
The agreement also would prohibit Fleetwood from represent- ing that a consumer endorsement or testimonial represents the typical or ordinary experience of those who use the exercise programs or CPM machines, unless that is the case.
The FTC's Chicago Regional Office handled the investigation.
The Commission vote to accept the proposed agreement for public comment was 4-1, with Commissioner Deborah K. Owen dissenting for procedural reasons.
The consent agreement is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register shortly, and will be subject to public comment for 60 days, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final. Comments should be addressed to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries (Fleetwood Manufacturing--02/25/93)
the force of law with respect to future actions of the respondents. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $10,000.
The FTC has published several consumer alerts on diet products and programs. Copies of these brochures are available free of charge from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
Copies of the complaint, consent agreement and an analysis to assist the public in commenting are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, same address as above; 202-326-2222; TTY 1-866-653-4261.
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MEDIA CONTACT: Brenda A. Mack, Office of Public Affairs 202-326-2182
STAFF CONTACT: C. Steven Baker or Theresa M. McGrew Chicago Regional Office 55 East Monroe St., Suite 1437 Chicago, Illinois 60603 312-353-8156
(FTC File No. 882-3133)