The Federal Trade Commission came to a settlement concerning the false advertising issue conducted by Reebok International Ltd. for one of their products, namely the toning shoes, making the company refund over $25 million.
During a press conference, the director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection, part of the FTC, referred to two of the Reebok products directly concerned by this decision: the EasyTone walking shoes and the RunTone running shoes. The advertisements revealed a unique technology used in the manufacturing of the shoes’ soles that was supposed to give tone and strength to the wearer’s legs and buttocks.rebook
The issued complaint regarded a false claim concerning the percentage of tone and strength developed by the consumer as a direct result of using the Reebok products. The 11% increase claim, although looking nice on paper and as part of the marketing campaign, wasn’t in fact supported by the actual features of the products in question.
On the other end of the rope, Reebok dismisses the FTC’s accusations in a public statement. Although the company settled, they continue to show full support to these specific shoe lines and base their commitment to continue developing them on the positive feedback they received from happy EasyTone and RunTone consumers.
The whole refunding process will be overviewed by a federal official and a website has been already launched where the customers of the Reebok tone shoes can apply. Furthermore, the company stopped the printing of the claims in question on all and any marketing features, such as: boxes and promotional materials until they can support them with proper scientific proof and studies.
The FTC officials condemned Reebok for its attitude towards the whole process. The shoe line was launched in the first months of 2009 and where supported by the advertisements all through that year and the beginning of the following one. They were, however, pulled off midway into the FTC investigation of the matter.
David Vladeck, the director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, was reserved in giving further information to the press concerning the number of toning Reebok shoes that were already sold, the amount of money the customers will receive as reimbursement or the Bureau’s position regarding other companies manufacturing similar products.