FTC slams QVC on weight loss products


“QVC aired ads that weren’t true and violated an FTC order,” said Eileen Harrington, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Simply put, we aren’t going to let QVC get away with this. The company is responsible for the product claims made on its programs, and we expect that going forward, QVC will do a better job for its audience and make sure that its programs are truthful and not deceptive.”

FTC is talking about a number of products sold on the cable home shopper, including For Women Only weight-loss pills; Lite Bites weight-loss food bars and shakes; and Bee-Alive Royal Jelly energy supplements; and Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion.

It will cost the $7.5M in settlement, with $6M going toward consumer redress and a $1.5M civil penalty. The issue between FTC and QVC was filed in a federal district court on 3/4/04.

RBR/TVBR observation: As we understand it, broadcasters have a certain amount of leeway when it comes to ads aired on their station. Broadcasters are not expected to be truth in advertising traffic cops, nor are they expected to be experts who are necessarily able to spot flawed science and exaggerated claims. On the other hand, broadcasters should be aware of the areas that are breeding grounds for such claims, and they should have a common sense awareness of America’s age old tradition of snake-oil hucksterism. It is excellent policy to keep the scammers off your portion of the spectrum.