The FTC announced in their press release on Tuesday 7th January big fines for four of the largest brand names in the diet and weight loss industry.
As part of their “Operation Failed Resolution” action, Sensa, L’Occitane, HCG Diet Direct, and LeanSpa have all been fined for a massive $34 million in the latest crackdown on how products are marketed both on and offline.
According to the FTC these companies used;
deceptive advertising claims to peddle fad weight- loss products, from food additives and skin cream to dietary supplements
Charges against Sensa Products, LLC
The parent company, Sensa Products, LLC based in California, along with two other individuals have been charged with deception. The case was bought forward as there is no scientific proof that their powdered food additive helps weight loss without diet or exercise, known as the sprinkle diet.
Along with the CEO of Sensa Inc, the part-owner and creator Dr. Alan Hirsch are also named in the charge for making unsubstantiated claims about Sensa.
With the FTC less than impressed by Dr Alan Hirsch’s role, they concluded he is…
barred under the order from providing expert endorsements unless he relies on both competent and reliable scientific evidence and his own expertise. And he is barred from providing to others studies, promotional materials, endorsements, or other means for deceiving consumers
Evidence has also come to light that testimonials were paid with compensations included payments of $1,000 or $5,000, and trips to Los Angeles – none of which was disclosed on the official website.
You can read the full story from the FTC press release.
Quick Sensa summary:
- Charges $59 plus shipping and handling for one-month supply of sprinkles
- Marketed via well-known media outlets to “cover” their claims
- U.S. sales of Sensa between 2008 and 2012 totaled more than $364 million, according to the complaint
- Failed to disclose some consumers were paid for their testimonials
- Findings from studies about the products were not supported by scientific evidence
- FTC imposed a fine of $26.5 million to be paid to consumers
You can read our full Sensa review here.
What Does This Mean for Sensa?
With such a large fine imposed and the nature of the charge we are surely to see Sensa products removed from the market place, or at least the advertising claims to be drastically changed.
What will this mean for the diet and beauty industry? It means advertisers will have to be careful what they claim their products can do. The days of selling snake oil could well and truly be over.