Posted by Laura McCallister, Multimedia Producer - email
By JENNIFER C. KERR Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government wants you to
know that simply sporting a pair of Skechers' fitness shoes is not
going to get you Kim Kardashian's curves or Brooke Burke's toned tush.
Skechers USA Inc. will pay
$40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the
footwear company made unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would
help people lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach
muscles. Kardashian, Burke and other celebrities endorsed the shoes in
Wednesday's settlement also
involves the company's Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes.
Skechers made deceptive claims about those shoes, too, says the agency.
Consumers who bought the
shoes will be eligible for refunds, though it's not clear how much money
people will get. The FTC says that will depend on how many claims are
received in the eight-month filing period. Most of the $40 million will
be returned to consumers, the commission said. A small amount of the
money will be used to administer the payouts.
"The FTC's message, for
Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your
substantiation or tone down your claims," said David Vladeck, director
of the agency's consumer protection bureau. For millions of consumers,
he said, "the only thing that got a workout was their wallet."
The commission settled
similar charges with Reebok last year over its EasyTone walking shoes
and RunTone running shoes. That $25 million agreement also provided
Skechers billed its
Shape-ups as a fitness tool designed to promote weight loss and tone
muscles with the shoe's curved "rocker" or rolling bottom - saying it
provides natural instability and causes the consumer to "use more energy
with every step." Shape-ups cost about $100 and are sold at retailers
Ads for the Resistance
Runner shoes claimed people who wear them could increase "muscle
activation" by up to 85 percent for posture-related muscles and 71
percent for one of the muscles in the buttocks, said the FTC.
The commission says
Skechers falsely represented that clinical studies backed up the
company's claims about its toning shoes. The settlement bars Skechers
from misrepresenting any tests, studies or research on its shoes in the
In Wednesday's court
filing, Skechers says it disputes the charges and is pursuing additional
studies. A call to Skechers seeking additional comment was not
The settlement is part of a
broader agreement also announced Wednesday - a settlement resolving a
multi-state investigation led by the attorneys general from Tennessee
and Ohio and involving more than 40 states. The company, based in
Manhattan Beach, Calif., will provide $40 million for customer refunds
in the federal case and $5 million to the states.
CLICK HERE for information on the FTC's information on possible Skechers refunds.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material
may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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