If you bought Skechers-brand shoes thinking they might improve your health and appearance, you may be eligible for a refund, Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper and Tennessee Commerce and Insurance's (TDCI) Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell announced today. Consumers should go to www.ftc.gov/skechers for refund information.
Following an investigation led by the Federal Trade Commission, the Tennessee and Ohio Attorneys General Offices led a multistate investigation consisting of 42 other states, and the District of Columbia. The FTC agreement and multistate agreement total $45 million. The agreements resolve alleged deceptive advertising complaints against Skechers USA, Inc., one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the country. Under the settlements, up to $40 million is being allocated for consumer refund money to be paid back to consumers who purchased Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, and the Skechers Resistance Runners – the largest such pool in history for an advertising substantiation case. As part of the settlements, Skechers will pay an additional $5 million to the states.
"Today's action should serve as a strong reminder to companies that they must be able to back up advertising claims that they make," Attorney General Cooper said.
The multistate action follows a closely-coordinated investigation initiated by the Federal Trade Commission of substantiation for marketing claims made by Skechers about some of its products lines. The lawsuit filed today by Attorney General Cooper alleges that Skechers made health-related claims in the marketing, packaging, advertising, offering, and selling of its line of rocker-bottom shoe products including Shape-ups, Tone-ups, and the Skechers Resistance Runner that were not adequately substantiated at the time the claims were made.
The lawsuit alleges that without adequate support for its claims, Skechers advertising claimed that these rocker-bottom shoe products caused consumers to lose weight, burn calories, improve circulation, fight cellulite, and firm, tone or strengthen thigh, buttock, and back muscles.
Under the settlement signed today by Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden, Jr., Skechers is prohibited from making these claims unless it has adequate substantiation to do so.
Skechers does not admit any wrongdoing and denies the factual allegations asserted in the Attorney General's complaint.
The State's Complaint, Agreed Final Judgment, and other information may be viewed by going online to www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral and clicking on "Filings of Interest."
Consumers who have complaints about unsubstantiated health or advertising claims or any consumer matter should contact the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs for more information at 1-800-342-8385 (toll free inside Tennessee), (615) 741-4737 or online at www.tn.gov/consumer/. To file a complaint with the FTC or for more consumer tips, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. .