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QVC Will Pay $7.5 Mil to Settle FTC’s Deceptive Claims Case

Mar 19, 2009  •  Post A Comment

QVC has agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it again made deceptive claims for dietary supplements, despite promising in 2000 not to do so.
The FTC announced the settlement today.
The FTC charged that QVC aired 200 programs with false and unsubstantiated claims for products including For Women Only weight-loss pills, Lite Bites weight-loss food bars and shakes and Bee-Alive Royal Jelly energy supplements.
The FTC also charged that QVC made unsubstantiated claims about Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion.
The settlement requires QVC to pay $6 million for consumer redress and a $1.5 million civil penalty.
The fine is unusual, but QVC in 2000 had settled cases about some of its dietary claims with a court agreement not to do it again.
The new settlement also expands the prior FTC order and further bars QVC from making unsubstantiated claims that any drug or cosmetic eliminates or reduces a user’s cellulite.
In a statement, Larry Hayes, QVC’s senior VP-general counsel, said the settlement was an attempt to end further legal expenses in connection with events that occurred more than five years ago.
“When the vendors offered these products on-air, QVC firmly believed, and still believes, there was no deception in the way they were presented,” Mr. Hayes said.
When the case was originally brought by the FTC, QVC in turn filed claims against the companies that had sold the products to QVC and that had supplied spokespeople who made many of the on-air product claims challenged by the FTC. Those companies agreed to participate in the overall settlement of the case, and QVC accordingly settled its claims against them.
“The settlement’s requirement that QVC substantiate claims made as to the covered products—principally dietary supplements—is fully consistent with QVC’s existing policy,” Mr. Hayes added. “We are confident that our customers receive accurate information about products because we work very hard to ensure that the claims made on our programs about all of our products are supported by reliable scientific evidence. We will continue to promote quality products reliably and with integrity.”
(1:50 p.m.: Added QVC statement)

58 Comments

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