Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America agreed to pay a combined total of $1.5 million for making allegedly unsupported claims about the benefits of their respective shapewear products.
Norm Thompson touted its undergarments as extra-slimming because they were infused with microencapsulated caffeine, retinol, and other ingredients that would eliminate or substantially reduce cellulite and reduce the wearer’s hip measurements by up to two inches and thigh measurements by one inch.
Sold by mail order or on the company’s Web site, the retailer claimed that “Dr. Oz loves these,” an endorsement the agency said was false, and that its bike shorts, tights, and leggings promised that wearers would “Lose 2 inches off hips and 1 inch off thighs in less than a month … without effort.”
Similarly, Wacoal deceptively advertised its iPants by promising they would result in substantial slimming by destroying fat cells and reducing both cellulite and thigh measurements, according to the FTC complaint. A hangtag for the product claimed that “test results show most women reported … a reduction in thigh measurement” after wearing the shorts 8 hours a day for 28 days.
Both companies’ shapewear claims lacked scientific evidence and substantiation, the agency said, and Wacoal’s claims were based on two unblinded, uncontrolled trials with serious methodological flaws.
The proposed consent orders would ban the companies from making unsubstantiated claims that their garments contained drugs or cosmetics, reduced body fat, or caused weight loss. In addition, both companies are required to pay the FTC a total of $1.5 million to cover customer refunds: $230,000 from Norm Thompson and $1.3 million from Wacoal.
To read the complaint and proposed consent order in In the Matter of Norm Thompson Outfitters, click here.
To read the complaint and proposed consent order in In the Matter of Wacoal America, click here.
Why it matters: “Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement about the actions. “If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear. The best approach is tried and true: diet and exercise.” The proposed consent orders are open for public comment.