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QVC Draws FTC Complaint for Diet Products

3/24/2004 7:22 AM Eastern

The Federal Trade Commission hit QVC Inc. with a complaint Wednesday for allegedly making unsubstantiated claims for "For Women Only" weight-loss products, "Lite Bites" weight-loss products and "Bee-Alive" oral-jelly dietary supplements.

QVC also violated an FTC order by making unsubstantiated claims for a purported cellulite treatment called "Lipofactor Cellulite Target Lotion," the commission alleged.

"QVC’s claims for these products are not only unsubstantiated, but for some, scientifically impossible," Howard Beales, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a prepared statement.

"No pill or drink can cause anyone to lose 125 pounds," Beales added. "QVC didn’t keep its promise to use sound science and solid evidence to back up the claims it makes for the health product it sells."

QVC didn’t confirm or deny the allegations Wednesday afternoon. And spokeswoman Bonnie Clarke said the network -- which is now fully owned by Liberty Media Corp. after Liberty purchased the 56.5% of QVC it didn’t already own from Comcast Corp. in September for $7.9 billion -- still sells Lite Bites.

"We work extraordinarily hard to make sure our 24-hour live broadcasting meets the highest possible standards of truthfulness, and we are ready to demonstrate that fact to the court," QVC CEO Doug Briggs said in a prepared statement. "I look forward to having the chance to show a judge the exhaustive efforts QVC makes in this regard."

The FTC alleged that QVC violated a 2000 order after it settled FTC allegations that it made unsubstantiated claims about lozenges that it said prevented colds and alleviated allergy symptoms.

"The resulting FTC consent order requires QVC to have ‘competent and reliable scientific evidence’ substantiating any claim that a dietary supplement ‘can or will cure, treat, or prevent any disease, or have any effect on the structure or function of the human body.’" the commission said Wednesday.

The FTC said violations of its orders carry penalties of up to $11,000 each.

 

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