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Two companies settle FTC charges that the caffeine-infused undergarmets they sold causes weight loss

Caffeine-shapewear-ipant

Two marketers of women’s “shapewear” undergarments have settled Federal Trade Commission charges that slimming claims for their caffeine-infused products were false and not proven by scientific evidence.

The proposed orders settling the FTC’s complaints bar Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America from making false claims about their shapewear and require them to pay more than $1.5 million for consumer refunds.

“Caffeine-infused shapewear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “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 FTC’s lawsuit against Norm Thompson Outfitters alleges the company deceptively marketed and sold women’s undergarments infused with microencapsulated caffeine, retinol, and other ingredients, claiming the “shapewear” would slim and reshape the wearer’s body and reduce cellulite.

The products, made with Lytess brand fabrics, were sold through mail order and on the company’s Norm Thompson Outfitters, Sahalie, Body Solutions, and Body*Belle websites.

The lawsuit against Wacoal America contains similar charges, alleging that the company’s iPants supposedly slimmed the body and reduced cellulite. The company said wearing iPants would reduce cellulite; reduce the wearer’s thigh measurements; and destroy fat cells, resulting in substantial slimming.

The proposed orders settling the charges against Norm Thompson Outfitters and Wacoal America ban the companies from claiming that any garment that contains any drug or cosmetic causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size.

In addition, the orders require Norm Thompson Outfitters to pay $230,000 and Wacoal America to pay $1.3 million. The FTC can use the funds to provide refunds to consumers who bought the caffeinated shapewear.

Consumers should carefully evaluate advertising claims for weight-loss products, Rich said.

For more information, see the FTC’s guidance for consumers of products and services advertised for Weight Loss & Fitness.

Copyright 2014, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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