The Federal Trade Commission and the Maine Office of the Attorney General reached a settlement with two companies, Direct Alternatives and Original Organics LLC, for alleged violations of the FTC Act and Maine consumer protection laws over the fraudulent promotion and sale of weight loss supplements, AF Plus and Final Trim. According to the agencies’ complaint, defendants’ claims of significant and rapid weight loss and reduced waist size lacked any scientific support, despite additional claims that the products in question were scientifically “proven.” Among a slew of consumer complaints, the defendants were charged with deceptively promising retailers’ gift cards to consumers who agreed to “risk-free trial” memberships in buying clubs.

As part of the parties’ settlement agreement, defendants are prohibited from making any health claims unless the claims are supported by “competent and reliable scientific evidence” that “consist of human clinical testing…that is sufficient in quality and quantity based on standards generally accepted by experts in the relevant field.” Defendants were ordered to pay $16 million, to be suspended if a number of conditions are met.