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Reebok to settle FTC claims of deceptive toning shoe ads

Reebok has settled a case with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it used deceptive advertising tactics to sell their "toning" shoe products. The shoe company agreed to pay $25 million to settle the charges. Consumers can apply for refunds from the company through the FTC or a class-action lawsuit.

The FTC accused Reebok of using deceptive ads to sell shoes because they made specific claims in advertisements regarding how the toning shoes were better for building muscle and gaining fitness than regular shoes. The company did not back up their statements -- such as that the toning shoes would help consumers gain 28 percent more muscle and tone in their buttocks than regular shoes -- with scientific studies, therefore the FTC said it was deceptive to make such claims.

Reebok says that it stands behind its toning shoe products and will continue to sell them to consumers. The company said that many customers have raved about the shoes and have seen a difference in their muscle mass. The FTC says that Reebok will not be able to continue to make specific claims about the shoes in print, television and Internet ads unless it backs them up with scientific evidence.

According to USA Today, some medical experts have said that the shoes can lead to injuries rather than improvement for a body. Since the shoes are shaped differently than regular shoes, they can, reportedly, change the way a person walks or runs and actually end up hurting them.

Source: USA Today, "FTC: Consumers to get refunds for Reebok's 'deceptive' toning shoe ads," Michael McCarthy, Sept. 30, 2011

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