FTC Reports Drop in Deceptive Weight-Loss Claims

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Deceptive claims regarding weight-loss products are falling thanks to improved screening by the media. However, more work is needed, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

In a study of all ads promoting weight-loss products including supplements, creams and patches, the FTC found that 15 percent contained "obviously false" claims. In a prior study, the FTC found that 50 percent of such ads contained obviously false claims in 2001.

The study surveyed ads running via print, television and radio channels, typically including direct response advertising. The FTC has declined so far to initiate legal action against media channels for running deceptive ads but has asked the media to help by refusing to run false advertising.

The FTC cautioned that the survey could not be generalized to include all weight-loss advertising. Though it took into account obvious false claims, the survey may have missed false claims that were not obvious, the FTC said.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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