Weight Loss Ads - Fraud
Weight Loss Ads - FTC Fraud Warning
Federal Trade Commission Chairman Timothy J. Muris wants media executives to "do the right thing" and stop running ads that contain obviously deceptive weight loss product claims.
Speaking to the Cable Television Advertising Bureau in New York, Muris said that ads that make claims and promises that are clearly implausible and patently false run in "all forms of media, with the notable exception of network TV."
He urged members of the media to help protect consumers, as well as the credibility of advertising, by promoting truthful weight loss ads.
Muris said that fraudulent weight loss ads are on the rise and because many of them run in highly respected publications, they are perceived to be credible.
"Last September ... the FTC released a report that analyzed 300 weight loss ads that ran in 2001. We found rampant use of false or misleading claims. Almost 40 percent made a claim that was obviously false. ... When we compared weight loss ads from 1992 with 2001, the recent ads were much more likely to contain obviously false claims, he said."
"We all have a shared stake in promoting truthful advertising," Muris said. "Profit and prosperity are not at odds with ethical advertising."
The FTC is currently developing a list of scientifically unfeasible claims that appear "repeatedly and fraudulently" in deceptive weight loss ads.
He also noted that the FTC is only asking for a review of ads for weight loss products, such as over-the-counter pills, not diets or exercise plans.
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