Marketer of Ear-Clip Weight-Loss Device Settles FTC Charges of False Claims
FTC News Release
January 18, 1995
Ninzu, Inc. and two other Baltimore, Maryland-based marketers of purported weight-loss devices called the Ninzu, the Auricle Clip and B-Trim, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false and unsubstantiated claims about the ability of their devices to suppress appetite and reduce weight. The devices, which are clipped to the ear, are claimed to work through acupressure. The FTC also alleged that the companies misrepresented that their weight-loss claims were scientifically proven. Under the proposed settlement of the charges, the defendants would be required to have scientific support for the claims they make for any weight-loss or acupressure product they market in the future. The FTC complaint detailing the charges names Ninzu, Inc., Davish Merchandising, Inc. (which does business as Davish Enterprises and Davish Health Products), and Order By Phone, Inc. (which does business as Auricle Clip, Inc.), collectively Ninzu, Inc. The complaint also names Michael B. Metzger, an officer and director of the companies.
The devices are described in Ninzu, Inc.'s advertisements as an "effortless weight-loss product that really works." They are to be worn before meals on the triangular part of the outer ear just outside the ear canal. According to the FTC complaint, Ninzu, Inc.'s ads claimed that the devices would apply pressure to a nerve ending, which inhibited the stomach's contractions and signaled the brain that the stomach was full. Ninzu, Inc. allegedly claimed that the devices cause significant weight loss and control appetite or reduce the user's craving for food, and that scientific evidence proves these claims. These claims were false and unsubstantiated, the FTC charged. The complaint also alleges that the ads falsely claimed that testimonials from consumers were typical of the experiences of users of the devices.
The proposed consent agreement would prohibit Ninzu, Inc. from making the specifically-challenged false claims for the three devices, or for any other acupressure device it markets in the future. It would also require the company to have competent and reliable scientific evidence to support any claim it makes about the performance, benefits, effectiveness or safety of any weight-loss or weight-control product, program or acupressure device. The agreement would prohibit misrepresentations about the typicality of consumer testimonials and the results of tests or studies. It also contains various reporting provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the respondent's compliance with the order.
The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 4-0.
- In the Matter of Ninzu, Davish Merchandising (d/b/a Davish Enterprises, Davish Health Products), Order By Phone (d/b/a Auricle Clip), and Michael B. Metzger. 119 FTC 421, FTC Docket No. C-3566, FTC File No. 932-3343.
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