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article imageReebok to refund $25 million in FTC settlement order

By Jane Fazackarley     Sep 29, 2011 in Lifestyle
A settlement order means that Reebok will have to refund $25 million to customers. The settlement is being made after charges from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that advertising of Reebok’s EasyTone and RunTone shoes was deceptive.
Among other restrictions, the settlement, which was published on the FTC website on Wednesday, means that Reebok cannot claim that its shoes or apparel strengthen and tone muscles. The FTC allege that the company made false claims when Reebok said that the fitness shoes could increase strength and tone in the buttock, hamstring and calf muscles. According to the press release, the FTC also allege that Reebok made the claims in print, on the Internet and in TV advertisements.
The original complaint by the FTC stated:
"Reebok made unsupported claims in advertisements that walking in its EasyTone shoes and running in its RunTone running shoes strengthen and tone key leg and buttock (gluteus maximus) muscles more than regular shoes."
The EasyTone and RunTone shoes retailed for up to $100 and EasyTone flip flops retailed at approximately $60. Consumers will be able to get a refund for the shoes from the FTC or through a class action lawsuit.
In a press release, David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said:
“The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science.”
Following the settlement, the FTC make it clear in a press release that “The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The consent decree is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the defendant that the law has been violated”.
In a brief statement on its website regarding the FTC settlement, Reebok state:
“We fully stand behind our EasyTone technology – the first shoe in the toning category inspired by balance-ball training. We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the continued development of our EasyTone line of products. Our customers are our number one priority, and we will continue to deliver products that they trust and love.”
Reebok also state that “Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC’s allegations; we do not”.
More about Reebok, easytone shoes, RunTone shoes, FTC
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