FTC: Skechers Deceived Consumers With Shoe Ads
WASHINGTON (AP) - The government wants you to know that simply sporting a pair of Skechers’ fitness shoes is not going to get you Kim Kardashian’s curves or Brooke Burke’s toned tush.
Skechers USA Inc. will pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the footwear company made unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach muscles. Kardashian, Burke and other celebrities endorsed the shoes in Skechers ads.
Wednesday’s settlement also involves the company’s Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes and claims of deceptive advertising for those shoes as well.
Consumers who bought the shoes would be eligible for refunds, though it’s not clear how much money they’ll get. The FTC says that will depend on how many claims are received in the eight-month filing period. Buyers can go to the FTC website to file a claim.
Most of the $40 million federal settlement would be returned to consumers, but a small amount of the settlement would be used to administer the payouts.
The settlement is related to a broader agreement also announced Wednesday that resolves a multi-state investigation led by the attorneys general from Tennessee and Ohio and involving more than 40 states. The company will provide an additional $5 million to the states, and pay $5 million in class-action attorney fees.
"The FTC’s message, for Skechers and other national advertisers, is to shape up your substantiation or tone down your claims," said David Vladeck, director of the agency’s consumer protection bureau. For millions of consumers, he said, "the only thing that got a workout was their wallet."