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Home Shopping Rejects FTC's Call to Prove Claims in Ads

March 04, 1995|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission has charged Home Shopping Network Inc. with making a number of unsubstantiated claims about the benefits and effectiveness of three vitamin sprays and an aerosol to help users quit smoking.

But Home Shopping Network Inc. said the FTC action was unwarranted and unreasonable. The company has refused to accept the FTC's proposed settlement of the complaint, which calls for scientific verification of such claims.

The FTC alleged that Home Shopping Network, based in St. Petersburg, Fla., did not have adequate evidence to support a variety of claims made about the sprays in advertising on its Home Shopping Club, which promoted and sold the products. Specifically, the FTC said, the ads claimed without proof that three vitamin sprays--Life Way Vitamin C and Zinc Spray, Life Way Antioxidant Spray and Life Way Vitamin B-12 Spray--are more fully absorbed by the body than vitamin tablets.

In addition, the FTC said, the ads claimed the first spray prevents the common cold, the second treats hangover symptoms and increases energy, and the third prevents facial lines and reduces the risk of catching infectious diseases.

As for the fourth product, the FTC said the advertising carried on the network declared that Smoke-Less Nutrient Spray would enable users to "stop smoking easily, regardless of how long or how much they have smoked" and that it "eliminates the quivering, anxiety and weight gain that goes along with quitting smoking."

But the network issued a statement saying that the FTC is trying to force it to conduct scientific tests not required of other retailers.

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