FTC Charges Fitness Quest, Inc. with Making
Deceptive Claims and Failing to Disclose
a Safety Risk from Use of Its "Gut Buster" Exercise Device

FTC News Release
January 8, 1990

The Federal Trade Commission has charged Fitness Quest, Inc. (FQI), with making false and unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of its "Gut Buster" exercise device, and with failing to disclose that the device may break and cause injury to user.

FQI marketed the Gut Buster, a spring tension device, through television commercials and print ads that appeared in publications such as Parade Magazine. It sold the device through the mail. FQI sells a variety of exercise-related products in addition to Gut Buster. The complaint names FQI, Consumer Direct, Inc., Richard Suarez and Luann Suarez as respondents.

According to the complaint, the respondents falsely represented that use of the Gut Buster would significantly flatten the user's stomach; improve the user's waistline by strengthening or toning the stomach muscles; and reduce stomach fat. They also allegedly misrepresented that using the Gut Buster for five minutes a day would achieve these benefits. FQI falsely claimed that Gut Buster assisted sit-ups were superior to ordinary sit-ups as a means of exercising and strengthening stomach muscles, according to the complaint. Finally, the complaint alleges that FQI's representation that it had a reasonable basis for these claims was also false.

The Commission further charges that FQI failed to disclose to purchasers and users of the Gut Buster the risk of injury from breakage of the product's spring. Breakage has allegedly caused substantial physical injury to consumers, and failure to disclose such a risk is alleged to be an unfair practice.

The vote to issue the complaint was 3-1 with Commissioner Terry Calvani dissenting and Commissioner Mary L. Azcuenaga not participating.

FQI and CDI are headquartered in Canton, Ohio.

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