Reebok will have to pay $25 million to settle charges brought against them by the Federal Trade Commission that it used deceptive advertising by making claims about fitness shoes without backing up those claims with scientific evidence. The company will also be facing a class-action lawsuit against the company in which consumers who purchased the “toning shoes” will seek to have their money refunded.
Consumers can already visit the FTC website to see if they are eligible to be refunded for toning shoes that they bought from Reebok. In television, print and Internet ads, the company claimed that the EasyTone shoes would help to add muscles and to shape legs and buttocks while walking more than regular shoes. Its RunTone shoes said that the product would work better for shaping the legs than other running shoes.
Reebok still stands by its claims and says that many of its customers have been happy with their shoes and have seen a difference. The company says that its number one priority is its customers. The company plans to continue to market the shoes. The FTC has barred them, however, from continuing to make specific claims in their marketing about how the shoes will help build muscles.
Reebok had been creating advertisements since 2009 that included information and claims about how much certain muscles would grow or be toned percentage-wise over other shoes. Under the settlement, Reebok will not be able to make such claims unless scientific evidence can back it up.
Source: USA Today, “FTC: Consumers to get refunds for Reebok’s ‘deceptive’ toning shoe ads,” Michael McCarthy, Sept. 30, 2011