FOR RELEASE: October 30, 1991
FTC CHARGES DIET COMPANY'S "INFOMERCIALS"
CONTAINED FALSE AND
UNSUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS ABOUT ITS DIET PROGRAM;
CONSENT AGREEMENT SETTLES CHARGES
Nu-Day Enterprises, Inc. and its owner, Jeffrey S. Bland, have been charged by the Federal Trade Commission with falsely claiming that their Nu-Day Diet program could change consumers' metabolism and cause them to lose weight without exercising. The FTC also charged that the program-length television format Nu-Day has used to make these claims was deceptive. Under a proposed consent agreement to settle these charges, Nu-Day would be prohibited from making similar false and unsubstantiated claims in the future. In addition, the respondents have agreed to pay $30,000 and to disclose every 15 minutes during any program length television commercial that the "infomercial" is a paid advertisement.
The FTC complaint also names Nu-Day's parent company, Healthcomm, Inc. All three respondents are located in Gig Harbor, Washington.
According to the FTC, Nu-Day's diet program consists of two meal-substitute products -- the Nu-Day Meal Replacement Formula (a powdered-protein product supplemented with various nutrients), and a dietary fiber supplement called Nu-Day Herbulk -- as well as a suggested exercise regimen and menus for balanced, low- calorie meals. ]
Consumers who purchased the program at $59.95 for a 14-day supply also received a booklet explaining the program and providing meal suggestions, and an audio cassette featuring Bland answering common questions about Nu-Day.
The program was advertised on a 30-minute television show called "The Perfect Diet." According to the FTC, the show appeared to be an independent consumer-news program airing interviews to report on the discovery of the Nu-Day diet.
In its complaint, the FTC charged that the television show was not an independent news program but, rather, a paid commercial, or what is commonly known as an "infomercial." The FTC also charged that Nu-Day's representations that its metabolism claims have been substantiated by 100,000 clinical trials are false. Further, the FTC charged, the infomercial contained false and misleading metabolism and weight-loss claims for the diet program.
The infomercial claimed, the FTC charged, that the diet program alters human metabolism in such a way that the body will burn more calories, and that weight lost while following the program won't be regained when users increase their caloric intake. In fact, according to the complaint, the meal replacement products do not alter metabolism in this manner.
The proposed consent agreement, announced today for public comment, would ban the false metabolism claims alleged in the complaint for the Nu-Day program or any substantially similar program the respondents offer. It also would prohibit unsubstan- tiated weight-loss or other claims about the performance of any weight-control program or service, and misrepresentations about the conclusions of scientific studies.
Further, the agreement would prohibit the respondents from misrepresenting the nature of any infomercial they produce or assist others to produce, and it would require the following disclosure within the first 30 seconds, every 15 minutes thereafter, and every time ordering information is presented: "The program you are watching is a paid advertisement for [the product or service]."
The Commission vote was 4-0, with Commissioner Dennis A. Yao not participating.
The consent agreement is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register shortly, and will be subject to public comment for 60 days, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final. Comments should be addressed to: Office of the Secretary, Federal Trade Commission, 6th St. and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C., 20580.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions with the respondent. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of up to $10,000.
Copies of the complaint, consent agreement
and an analysis of the consent are available from the FTC's Public
Reference Branch, same address as above; 202-326-2222; TTY 202-326-2506.
# # #
MEDIA CONTACT: Brenda A. Mack, Office
of Public Affairs,
STAFF CONTACT: Timothy Hughes, Chicago
55 East Monroe Street, Suite 1437
Chicago, IL 60603
(FTC File No. 882-3156)
Notes on Jeffrey Bland ||| Quackwatch Home Page