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NordicTrack Settles FTC Charges

February 16, 1996|Times Wire Services

NordicTrack Inc. has agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission allegation that it made false weight-loss claims in advertisements for its cross-country ski exercise machines.

Jodie Bernstein, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said NordicTrack based its claims on faulty surveys and then mischaracterized the results in its ads.

The settlement prohibits NordicTrack from misrepresenting the results of weight-loss studies and requires it to provide reliable evidence for any claims about exercise equipment it sells.

"Millions of consumers are searching for weight-loss products and programs that are proven to work, and NordicTrack appealed to that vulnerability," Bernstein said.

In advertisements for its ski machine, NordicTrack claimed that 70% to 80% of consumers who used it lost an average of 17 pounds and that consumers who used the machines for 20 minutes a day, three times a week, lost an average of 18 pounds in 12 weeks.

The FTC said the claims were based on studies with methodological flaws and reflected only the experiences of a small number of purchasers who used the exercise machines as part of their regular exercise regimes.

Executives of Chaska, Minn.-based NordicTrack, a subsidiary of CML Group Inc. of Acton, Mass., said the claims cited by the FTC have not been used in its advertising since last year. It added that no civil penalties were assessed by the agency as a result of the case.

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