The Federal Trade Commission filed suit against QVC Inc. yesterday for allegedly making false or unsubstantiated claims involving weight-loss products.
The FTC said that on-camera statements about the products violated a settlement in 2000 with the shopping channel involving Cold-Eeze zinc lozenges. As part of that settlement, the FTC said, the home shopping channel agreed to have “competent and reliable scientific evidence” substantiating any claim that a dietary supplement “can or will cure, treat, or prevent any disease, or have any effect on the structure or function of the human body.”
The products named in the complaint are “For Women Only” weight-loss products, Lite Bites weight-loss products and Bee-Alive royal jelly dietary supplements.
In addition, the complaint alleges that QVC made unsubstantiated claims that Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion (a topical product not covered by the 2000 FTC order) eliminates or significantly reduces cellulite without diet or exercise, causes measurable inch loss and that tests prove the product works.
“QVC's claims for these products are not only unsubstantiated, but for some, scientifically impossible,” said Howard Beales, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. “No pill or drink can cause anyone to lose 125 pounds. QVC didn't keep its promise to use sound science and solid evidence to back up the claims it makes for the health products it sells.”
QVC president/CEO Doug Briggs said statements made about the products during QVC broadcasts were accurate.
“We work extraordinarily hard to make sure that our 24-hour live broadcasting meets the highest possible standards of truthfulness, and we are ready to demonstrate that fact to the Court,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to having the chance to show a judge the exhaustive efforts that QVC makes in this regard.”
The FTC is seeking civil penalties, consumer redress, and other relief. Violations of FTC orders carry a penalty of up to $11,000 per violation.