Body Wrapping Salons Settle FTC Charges That
Weight- and Inch-Loss Claims Were False
FTC News Release
March 29, 1995
European Body Concepts, Inc., and James Marino, its president, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that weight-loss and inch-loss claims for their body wrap system were false and unsubstantiated, and that claims that the body wrap procedure is safe for everyone were deceptive. The settlement would prohibit the claims in the future and require that prominent safety warnings be given to customers. European Body Concepts did business in suburban Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina under that name and the name European Systems. Marino is their only shareholder.
According to the FTC complaint detailing the charges, European Body Concepts outlets provided body wrapping treatments, using medical bandages soaked in a solution that are wrapped around the bodies of the customers. The customers are then clothed in vinyl body suits. The FTC complaint alleges that radio and television advertisements for the system included statements such as, "We'll rid you of those unwanted inches, bumps and bulges without strict diets or strenuous exercise," and, "We guarantee you'll lose 6 to 30 inches on your first visit or it's free." Through these and other statements, the complaint charges, European Body Concepts falsely claimed that consumers using the body wrap system could lose inches, pounds and cellulite quickly and easily without dieting or exercise. The advertising also claimed that the system could reduce the size of specific areas of the body and that users successfully maintain their weight and inch loss, the FTC alleged. The claims were false and misleading, according to the complaint, and were not supported by a reasonable basis. In addition, consumer testimonials included in the ads did not represent the typical experiences of consumers who used the treatment and were false and misleading, the complaint alleged.
Finally, the complaint charges that European Body Concepts falsely claimed that the system is completely safe for all users and failed to disclose that the treatments may be dangerous for people with certain medical conditions, including heart disease, high or low blood pressure, or diabetes.
Under the proposed consent agreement to settle the charges, European Body Concepts and Marino would be prohibited from making false or unsubstantiated weight or inch-loss, cellulite-reduction or safety claims. Specifically, the order would prohibit claims that European Body Wrap treatments:
- cause weight loss;
- cause weight loss quickly, easily or without diet or exercise;
- target weight loss at specific areas of the body;
- cause users to maintain their weight or inch loss;
- eliminate cellulite; and
- are completely safe for all users.
The consent agreement would prohibit certain claims that any body wrapping treatment causes consumers to lose inches from their body measurements unless the claim is both true and substantiated by scientific evidence. In addition, any inch-loss claims must be accompanied by disclosures that the reductions will be temporary and that the treatment does not cause weight loss, unless the respondents have competent and reliable scientific evidence to the contrary.
The agreement also would prohibit the use of testimonials that misrepresent that they are the typical experiences of users of the product or service.
In addition, the agreement would require that advertisements that make any claim about the safety of the European Body Concepts system disclose that it may be dangerous to persons suffering from certain physical conditions, including heart disease and high blood pressure, and that such persons should consult a doctor before using the treatments. The respondents would be required to include a similar warning in a brochure given to users and to post it in a prominent place in the reception area of each outlet.
The Commission vote to accept the consent agreement for public comment was 4-0.
- In the Matter of European Body Concepts (Maryland), European Body Concepts (Virginia), European Body Concepts (North Carolina), and James Marino. 119 FTC 947, FTC Docket No. C-3590, FTC File No. 932-3321.
This page was posted on December 23, 2005.