The Federal Trade Commission announced today that Reebok International Ltd. has agreed to provide $25 million in refunds to customers who bought its toning shoes or apparel to settle deceptive advertising charges.
According to the government agency, Reebok’s ads made unsupported claims that walking in EasyTone footwear was “proven” to lead to 28 percent more strength and tone in the buttock muscles and 11 percent more strength and tone in hamstring and calf muscles than regular walking shoes.
“We spent a lot of time examining the evidence the company put forward and found it wanting,” said David Vladeck, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection during a press conference in Washington today. “This settlement is also to remind advertisers big and small that they must have adequate proof before making claims.”
Under terms of the agreement, the money will be placed in a fund to be paid out to all the folks that bought products from the two lines.
In addition to the refund, the settlement prohibits Reebok, a unit of Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Adidas AG, from making any future claims regarding the strengthening and toning benefits of its footwear unless they are backed by scientific evidence.
Customers that purchased Reebok EasyTone or RunTone footwear or apparel can apply for a refund here.