Feds Crack Down On Deceiving Weight Loss Products

Fines paid, companies now banned from selling similar products

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Four weight loss product companies are paying major fines amid accusations they deceived customers about the effectiveness of their weight loss products, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

The first company feeling the squeeze is Sensa, which markets a weight loss powder that users sprinkle on their food. Between 2008 and 2012, Sensa made $364 million in sales. Now, the company will pay $26.5 million to settle charges that the company made scientifically unfounded weight loss claims, the Associated Press reports. Sensa was sold by major retailers like Costco and GNC.

Another company, L’Occitane Inc., sold Almond Beautiful Shape and Almond Shaping Delight skin creams advertised as body slimming. The company will pay $450,000 to settle with the FTC. LeanSpa will also give $7.3 million to the FTC in its settlement over promoting acai berry and colon cleanse weight-loss supplements on fake news sites. And HCG Diet Direct, which marketed liquid drops with hormones advertised as helping users lose weight, will hand over $34 million to the FTC.

All the companies are banned from selling similar products without scientific research to back up the claims, AP reports.

“The chances of being successful just by sprinkling something on your food, rubbing cream on your thighs, or using a supplement are slim to none — the science just isn’t there,” said Jessica Rich, director of FTC’s consumer protection office.

The FTC acknowledged that the settlement money is only a small amount compared to what consumers paid over the years.