The FTC announced on 19/02/2009 that QVC has agreed to pay $7.5 Million for airing deceptive weight loss claims: QVC to Pay $7.5 Million to Settle Charges that It Aired Deceptive Claims
This case seems to have been going on for some time. I found a reference to it from March 2004: Feds Charge QVC over Weight-Loss Claims
The weight loss claims to be found deceptive were:
- For Women Only weight control products cause substantial weight loss, for example, 50, 60, 100 pounds or more, and enable users to maintain their weight loss for a substantial period of time;
- For Women Only Zero Fat pills (with chitosan, herbs, and other ingredients) prevent fat absorption;
- For Women Only Zero Carb pills (with chromium, vanadium, glucosol, gymena sylvestre leaf, and other ingredients) prevent sugar and carbohydrates from being stored as fat;
- Lite Bites products (including Fat Fighting Bars and Fat Fighting System Shakes, containing chromium picolinate, garcinia cambogia, L-carnitine, herbs, vitamins, fiber, and other ingredients) enable users to lose substantial weight, including, for example, 52, 80, 110, 125 pounds or more, and enable users to maintain their weight loss for a substantial period of time.
It is rewarding to see that FTC is actively pursuing these type of scams. I hope it sets a precedence for other “magic pills” and weight loss methods marketed via TV, radio and other media. Hopefully it will also reach internet marketing where people looking to lose weight seem to be a targeted group for internet marketers wanting to make a fast buck, recycling their “success photos” from last year’s fad (wu-yi tea) to this year’s fad (acai). [Before even thinking about ordering any of these two products, you may want to check out the complaints at Ripoff Reports. Many, many people have lost money on a useless product and have problems getting out of the autoship charges to their credit card.]
But note that this case took at least 5 years. And then it didn’t even go to trial but a settlement was reached. This fact gives me hope about eventually seeing Kimkins.con being shut down. After all, the class action lawsuit wasn’t initiated until late 2007, and class certification granted in January 2009. The wheels of justice are turning, even if not as fast as I’d like.
Despite Heidi Diaz thinking that the “scandal” is over, it is not. Cleaning up your marketing practices does not cancel the fact that people were defrauded of money based on untrue claims and representations. And, while the “internet hate group,” as Heidi calls us, might be small, there are many, many more that would like to see Kimkins.con gone from the internet for good. Including the vast majority of the 40,000 people that paid for a lifetime membership and quickly found out that this was a dangerous diet. I’m sure they would like to have their money back too.