Reebok to Pay $25 million to Settle Deceptive Shoe Ad Case

Posted September 28th, 2011 at 1:58 pm (UTC-5)
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Shoe manufacturer Reebok has agreed to pay $25 million to resolve a U.S. government complaint that its advertising misled consumers by claiming that wearing two of its brands would help tone leg and buttock muscles.

Reebok, part of German athletic apparel manufacturer Adidas, claimed in advertising starting in 2009 that its EasyTone walking shoes and flip flops and RunTone running shoes would strengthen the legs and buttocks of those who used the shoes more than wearing regular shoes. The Reebok shoes cost up to $100 a pair.

But a U.S. consumer watchdog group, the Federal Trade Commission, ruled Wednesday that Reebok could not prove its advertising claims. One commission official said the agency had “spent a lot of time” examining the company's evidence and “found it wanting.” The official said advertisers “must have adequate proof” before they make such claims.

Under terms of the agreement, consumers who bought the shoes can get individual refunds or participate in a lawsuit with other Reebok customers.

Reebok agreed to the settlement but did not rescind its claims for the shoes.