Ab Glider Maker to Pay $3 Million Fine for Bogus Ad Claims
Claims made marketing the Pro Form ab Glider -- including ads and infomercials featuring talk show host Elisabeth Hasselbeck -- were "bogus" and violated a previous order by the Federal Trade Commission to not make trumped-up weight loss claims, the FTC announced Thursday.
ICON Health & Fitness, along with related businesses, agreed to pay $3 million in penalties to settle the charges. The ads claimed using the ab Glider for three minutes a day would cause significant weight loss. In 1997, the company was told that it could not make claims about its products that could not be substantiated or were not reflective of the "typical user's experience."
"The FTC is committed to protecting consumers from bogus weight-loss claims, whether they're for dietary supplements, exercise equipment or any other type of product," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. "Just because time has passed since an order was entered doesn't mean a manufacturer can ignore the order and return to its old tricks."
3 Minutes Isn't Enough
From 2010 through 2013, the company ran an advertising campaign promoting the ab Glider. In one commercial, Hasselbeck is shown working out and boasting of how three minutes on the machine is the equivalent of doing 100 sit-ups and will lead to weight loss. She proclaims: "When I say the ab Glider works, it works!" Endorsements all claim major weight loss due to the device.
"None of the consumers providing testimonials achieved their results using the ab Glider for only three minutes a day or by using only the ab Glider without engaging in other exercise or dieting," the FTC complaint said.
Under the settlement, the 1997 order is wiped out, and a new set of limits will be placed on the company that will last for 20 years, the FTC said.