Skechers has agreed to pay a $40 million fine after making bogus claims pertaining to their Shape-Ups. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has been investigating the matter for months, and reached a verdict stating that Skechers claims of health benefits were far-fetched.
The company claimed that the new shoes would not only tone the butt, but it would also help consumers burn calories and tighten their abdominals. The shoes hit the market ranging from $60 to $100, but research proves they didn’t really give consumers the booty for their buck that they had been promised. Consumers will be able to get a refund from Skechers if they purchased a pair of Shape-Ups.
For a nation fighting the rising rates of obesity, it seemed too good to be true when Sketchers released their new Shape-Up footwear in 2009. The FTC revealed that the California-based company made “unfounded claims that Shape-Ups would help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs, and abdominal muscles.” According to their TV ads, which featured popular stars such as Kim Kardashian and Brooke Burke, Americans could look forward to a toned, sexy body just by slipping their feet into some Shape-Ups every day. The FTC’s studies proved that these claims were untrue and misled consumers, which violates federal law.
David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “Skechers’ unfounded claims went beyond stronger and more toned muscles. The company even made claims about weight loss and cardiovascular health.” The company’s sales reached almost $1 billion, but they may be giving much of the money back if enough consumers pursue their full refund.
Another television ad that was deceiving to the public used the endorsement of a biased chiropractor, Dr. Steven Gautreau. He claimed that his own independent test proved the shoe’s many health benefits. What he didn’t mention was the fact that his wife was a marketing executive for Skechers and that he was being compensated for his endorsement. Not to mention the information found in his “independent” clinical study wasn’t even factual.
Skechers is prohibited from making any other health benefit claims pertaining to the Shape-Ups unless they are backed by unbiased, accurate scientific evidence.
Skechers has not announced what they will do with the Shape-Up brand, but their website does feature an ad with Brooke Burke sporting what the company calls “the next generation of Shape-Ups.”