Advertising Claimed Ancient Japanese Secret Could Treat Medical Conditions
At the request of the Federal Trade Commission, a federal judge has banned marketers of Kinoki “Detox” Foot Pads – that would purportedly remove toxins from the body through a person’s feet – from selling a wide variety of products. The FTC charged that the marketers falsely claimed the pads could treat numerous illnesses and medical conditions. In a settlement announced today, the judge banned the marketers from promoting or selling any dietary supplement, food, drug, or medical device, and from assisting others in doing the same.
As part of its efforts to crack down on bogus health claims, the FTC last year charged the promoters of the foot pads with running deceptive ads on television and the Internet that touted the “ancient Japanese secret to perfect health” for treating wide-ranging medical conditions.
The defendants – Yehuda Levin and his company, Xacta 3000, Inc. – sold a two-week supply of Kinoki Foot Pads for $19.95, plus $9.95 for shipping and handling.
The defendants falsely claimed to have scientific proof that the foot pads removed toxic materials from the body, according to the FTC complaint. The defendants also advertised that when applied to the soles of consumers’ feet at night, the food pads could remove toxins, metabolic wastes, heavy metals, and chemicals from the body; treat headaches, depression, parasites, fatigue, insomnia, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, cellulite, and a weakened immune system; and cause weight loss. In its complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey on January 27, 2009, the FTC charged that these advertising claims were false or unsupported.
The defendants agreed to a judgment of $14.5 million, which represents the total revenues from the sale of Kinoki Foot Pads. The entire judgment is suspended based on the defendants’ inability to pay, but will become due if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the agreed-upon settlement was 4-1, with Commissioner Rosch dissenting. A judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey signed the stipulated final order on October 28, 2010.
NOTE: A stipulated final order is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. A stipulated final order requires approval by the court and has the force of law when signed by the judge.
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 File No. X090021)
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