Weight-Loss Patch Marketer to Offer Refunds

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DRTV marketers who sold a patch they claimed would lead to weight loss have agreed to repay consumers $1.175 million to settle charges of false and unsubstantiated advertising, the Federal Trade Commission said yesterday.

Infomercials for the "Peel Away the Pounds" patch claimed that the seaweed-based patch, when attached to the skin, would cause loss of three to five pounds per week, the FTC said. The infomercial ran from June 2002 to January 2003, and the campaign included Internet and print advertising as well.

The infomercials featured purported user testimonials as well as an expert testimonial from chemist Jesse Starkman, according to the FTC.

Those named in the charges included: Advanced Patch Technologies and its principal, Salomon Btesh; PAP Systems, Buckhead Marketing & Distribution and their principals Ralf Leszinski and Nancy Duitch; and Starkman.

Also named were an individual and a company the FTC said received financial benefit from the ads but did not participate in deceptive practices, including APT principal Bernard Silverfarb and Buckhead Marketing Group, an affiliate of Buckhead Marketing & Distribution.

Starkman and the APT defendants will pay $175,000 of the consumer compensation, while the other defendants will share the cost of the remaining $1 million.


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