Stimulating Shape-Wear: Caffeinated Undergarment Weight-Loss Claims Banned

Two manufacturers of caffeine-infused shape-wear for women entered into a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) based on charges that the manufacturers made false and unsubstantiated claims in relation to their products. Specifically, the FTC focused on claims that the products caused weight-loss. Wacoal America, Inc. (Wacoal), creator of the iPants, and Norm Thompson Outfitters, Inc. (Norm Thompson), another manufacturer of undergarments containing encapsulated caffeine and retinol, were subsequently banned from making such weight-loss claims and required to pay a combined $1.5 million, which the FTC plans to use to help provide refunds to the purchasers of the shape-wear.

Caffeinated-Infused Shapewear

The FTC press release covering the settlements explained that both manufacturers’ products were examples of a new diet fad. “Caffeine-infused shape-wear is the latest ‘weight-loss’ brew concocted by marketers,” according to Jessica Rich, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Norm Thompson sold its shape-wear on the Internet and via mail order.

Unsubstantiated Claims

Specifically, Norm Thompson created and marketed “women’s undergarments infused with microencapsulated caffeine, retinol, and other ingredients, claiming the ‘shape-wear’ would slim and reshape the wearer’s body and reduce cellulite.” Similarly, Wacoal was alleged to have made claims that its undergarment, iPants, which were manufactured in a comparable fashion, would “substantially reduce cellulite, cause a substantial reduction in the wearer’s thigh measurements; and destroy fat cells, resulting in substantial slimming.” In a complaint filed by the FTC, these claims were alleged to be untrue, not substantiated by scientific evidence, and as such, in violation of the FTC Act.

Settlement

The proposed administrative consent order, which embodied the settlement agreement between the manufacturers and the FTC, specifically banned the companies “from claiming that any garment that contains any drug or cosmetic causes substantial weight or fat loss or a substantial reduction in body size.” Moreover, the companies were prohibited from making any type of claim that a drug or cosmetic “reduces or eliminates cellulite or reduces body fat, unless they are not misleading and can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.” Finally, per the settlement, Norm Thompson agreed to pay the FTC $230,000, while Wacoal promised to pay $1.3 million in consumer redress.