Reebok agrees $25m refund for false trainer claims

Reebok: agrees $25m settlement
Reebok: agrees $25m settlement

Reebok, the sports brand, is being forced to return $25m (£15.9m) to consumers in the US who have bought its "toning" shoes, to settle a case brought by the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission said that Reebok had made unsubstantiated claims in its advertising that its EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes toned and strengthened leg and bum muscles.

The FTC's complaint also alleged Reebok falsely claimed that the use of EasyTone footwear had been proved to lead to 28% more strength and tone in the buttock muscles, 11% more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles and 11% more strength and tone in the calf muscles, than regular walking shoes.

Reebok has been making its claims since early 2009 across TV, print and online marketing, according to the FTC.

As well as refunding consumers who bought the shoes, which retail from between $60 and $100 in the US, the FTC has barred Reebok from making these claims, along with any health or fitness-related claims, unless they are backed by scientific evidence.

David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said: "The FTC wants national advertisers to understand that they must exercise some responsibility and ensure that their claims for fitness gear are supported by sound science."

Reebok posted the following statement on its website in response to the settlement.

"In order to avoid a protracted legal battle, Reebok has chosen to settle with the FTC. Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC's allegations; we do not.

"We fully stand behind our EasyTone technology – the first shoe in the toning category inspired by balance-ball training.

"We have received overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback from thousands of EasyTone customers, and we remain committed to the continued development of our EasyTone line of products.

"Our customers are our number one priority, and we will continue to deliver products that they trust and love."

In the UK Reebok's EasyTone trainers have also fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Authority.

The ASA banned an ad for the EasyTone Curve trainers in December last year, stating the brand gave insufficient evidence to back its claim they toned people's "legs and bum more than regular trainers".

Follow Sarah Shearman on Twitter @shearmans


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer