Marketers Agree to Pay $500,000, Accept Ban from Marketing Weight-Loss Products in FTC Settlement
Manon Fernet and the company she controls, which did business as the “Freedom Center Against Obesity,” have agreed to settle an FTC complaint against them that includes paying $500,000 and accepting a ban from manufacturing or marketing weight loss products in the United States.
According to the FTC’s complaint, the Canada-based marketers deceptively advertised their product as being able to cause fast, substantial and permanent weight loss without diet or exercise. Sold as Double Shot, the product was comprised of two capsules. One capsule was claimed to cause weight loss by burning stored fat as if the user had exercised one hour a day. The other capsule was claimed to prevent the absorption of all but 10% of the calories consumed.
The marketing materials used the endorsement of a doctor identified as the Director of Weight Loss Research for the Freedom Center Against Obesity. They also claimed the effectiveness of the product was substantiated by clinical studies. According to the FTC complaint, neither the doctor nor the studies were real.
Under the settlement, the defendants are banned from manufacturing or marketing weight loss products or assisting others in doing so. They also are banned from making any claims about the health benefits or effectiveness of any dietary supplement, food, drug, or device unless the claims are true and they can support those claims with studies that are generally accepted in the profession to have been conducted and evaluated objectively by qualified people.