Every time I hear about a weight-loss case, filled with promises that a pill will let you shed pounds, fat, and inches without dieting and exercise, I think of My Fair Lady’s flower girl, dreaming in the cold night air about eating chocolates beside a warm fire, and singing wistfully, “Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly?”
The FTC announced the settlement of another weight-loss case today. Spoiler alert – it turns out that the only thing the defendants’ Final Trim and AF Plus capsules were sure to trim were the wallets of consumers, who dropped $16.4 million over just three years buying them.
The case was brought jointly by the FTC and the Maine Attorney General’s Office against Anthony Dill, his wife, Staci, and their companies, Original Organics and Direct Alternatives. According to the complaint, the defendants had no scientific evidence to support their claims that their capsules let users “shed pounds in days,” “lose 30 pounds or more” without changing diet, and “keep eating your favorite foods and STILL lose pounds and inches – in fact we guarantee it!”
The complaint said the defendants used radio ads and promised “risk-free trial” offers, but actually enrolled people in continuity plans in which they were charged a minimum of $79.90 for their orders. According to the complaint, people who tried to cancel found it difficult to reach a customer service representative or were told they were too late.
The settlement prohibits the defendants from making false or unsubstantiated claims about any supposed weight-loss product, dietary supplement, food, drug, or cosmetic product. It bars them from selling their products using bogus risk-free trial offers and from ballyhooing refund and cancellation policies without disclosing their terms. It also requires them to surrender assets valued at more than $1.5 million, including a vacation home, investment and retirement accounts, life insurance policies, two snowmobiles, a boat, and diamond earrings.
For the skinny on fake weight-loss claims, please read our article, Weighing the Claims in Diet Ads.