The Federal Trade Commission is mailing 477,083 refund checks totaling $26,023,329 this week to consumers who bought the sprinkle-on weight-loss supplement Sensa. They are legitimate refund checks, and must be cashed within 60 days of the date they are issued, or will become void.
The refunds stem from a January 2014 settlement with the marketers of Sensa, who claimed that consumers could “sprinkle, eat, and lose weight” by using the product. According to the FTC’s complaint, the California-based company, its parent company, and two individuals, including the product’s inventor, deceptively advertised that the powder enhances food’s smell and taste, making users feel full faster, so they eat less and lose weight without changing their diet or exercise routine. The FTC’s complaint alleged, among other things, that the defendants did not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the weight-loss claims. The defendants charged $59 for a one-month supply of Sensa.
The FTC’s complaint also charged the defendants with failing to disclose that they paid some consumer endorsers for promoting the product, and controlled a purportedly independent study. The complaint also alleged that Sensa’s inventor deceptively endorsed the product and provided others with the tools for deception. In addition to requiring consumer refunds, the settlement with the FTC prohibits such practices.
Epiq Systems, Inc., the redress administrator for this matter, will mail refund checks to eligible consumers this week. The average amount each consumer will receive is $54, but may differ based on how much they lost. The checks must be cashed within sixty days of the date they are issued. The FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.
Consumers who bought Sensa may still file a complaint with the FTC, but at this time, no additional refunds are available. The FTC has established a hotline for consumers who have questions about this matter and want to contact the redress administrator. It is 1-800-420-2914. Also, the FTC’s website has more information about the refunds.
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 2,000 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. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
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