How many times have clients asked you about over-the-top weight loss products they saw on television? Usually the product manufacturers make outlandish claims that you itemize and debunk. It’s not always easy, however, to convince clients that a pill doesn’t work when they’ve already been exposed to very persuasive arguments from well-produced infomercials. You can’t keep your eye on every bad claim.
Well, maybe someone else is watching. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently took steps to punish QVC Inc., a popular shopping channel and website, for making deceptive claims about several weight loss products. The complaint, filed on March 24, 2004, charges QVC with violating a June 2000 order by claiming, among other things, that users could lose a substantial amount of weight and prevent fat absorption.
In a press release issued by the agency on March 24, Howard Beales, director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection, said, “QVC’s claims for these products are not only unsubstantiated, but for some, scientifically impossible. No pill or drink can cause anyone to lose 125 pounds. QVC didn’t keep its promise to use sound science and solid evidence to back up the claims it makes for the health products it sells.”