Marketers of the BodyFlex+ System agreed to settle a deceptive advertising complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by offering customers $2.6 million in refunds.
BodyFlex is an 18-minute routine involving stretching, deep breathing and exercises done with the BodyFlex Gym Bar, a plastic exercise bar with a resistance band. In a heavily aired national infomercial and on the Internet, BodyFlex claimed its product would cause users to lose from four to 14 inches in the first seven days of use.
The FTC’s amended complaint named Savvier Inc. and Savvier LP, California companies; their principals, Jeffrey Tuller and Jack Ching Chung Chang; BodyFlex Inc., a Nevada corporation; and its principal and BodyFlex spokesperson Greer Childers. In a stipulated motion filed on Aug. 31, 2004, the FTC asked the court to dismiss charges against defendant Jack Ching Chung Chang. The FTC’s original complaint was filed in federal district court in November 2003 and was amended in January 2004. The proposed settlement still requires final court approval.
Besides establishing a $2.6 million consumer refund program, Savvier LP will also pay administrative costs of the program, which will give dissatisfied customers the opportunity to receive either a full refund or a pro rata share, depending on the consumer response to the refund offer. Savvier LP will send notices to BodyFlex purchasers describing how they can receive a refund. After the refund program is completed the FTC stated that any unused funds would be disgorged to the U.S. Treasury.
The order also includes an “avalanche clause” that makes $36 million due immediately if the court finds that the defendants misrepresented their financial condition.
For more information on the FTC and the diet and fitness industry, go to http://www.ftc.gov/dietfit. The FTC consumer hotline number for BodyFlex is 202-326-2935.