The marketers of “Slim Coffee” – an instant coffee product purportedly containing hoodia – have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that their advertising falsely claimed that their product would enable its users to lose significant amounts of weight without diet or exercise. The defendants ran television ads claiming that drinking Slim Coffee had been “clinically proven” to cause weight loss of “up to 5 pounds a week and up to 20 pounds a month.” “There’s no need to change your eating habits or what you eat,” the defendants claimed. “Just replace your coffee with Slim Coffee and you will start to see results. It’s that easy and all-natural.”
According to a complaint filed by the FTC in federal district court, the defendants’ weight-loss claims for Slim Coffee were false and unsupported by any reliable scientific studies, in violation of the FTC Act. Among other things, the Commission’s complaint alleged that neither Slim Coffee nor any of its individual ingredients, including hoodia, would enable its users to lose as much as two to five pounds per week, without reducing caloric intake or increasing physical activity.
Under the proposed settlement, Diet Coffee, Inc. and its principals, David Stocknoff and David Attarian, based in New York City, are prohibited from claiming that any product enables users to lose substantial weight without reducing caloric intake or increasing physical activity. The order also prohibits them from representing that any product or service causes weight loss, causes users to lose any specified amount of weight, reduces or eliminates fat, reduces or curbs appetite, or increases metabolism, or making any other health-related benefit or efficacy representation unless it is true, not misleading, and substantiated by reliable scientific evidence. In addition, the defendants are prohibited from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test or study concerning such products.
The settlement contains a monetary judgment of $923,910, which is suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay. The full judgment will be imposed if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The defendants advertised Slim Coffee on the Internet, radio, and television, including on Oxygen, Fox Reality Channel, A&E Television, The CW, WE, and Bravo. Advertisements also have appeared in magazines and Sunday newspaper supplements, including SmartSource by News America Marketing FSI, Inc.
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint and stipulated final orders was 5-0. The complaint and stipulated final orders were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
NOTE: These stipulated final orders are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendant of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the documents mentioned in this news release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer 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, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.
(FTC File No. 0723052)
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