FTC Charges Marketer of "CPM" Tables
with Making False Weight-Loss Claims

Consent Agreement Would Settle Charges

FTC News Release
February 25, 1993

Fleetwood Manufacturing, Inc., based in Mesa, AZ, and its owner, Thomas A. Fleetwood, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false and unsubstantiated weight-loss claims in advertisements and promotional materials for their continuous passive motion ("CPM") exercise tables. Under the proposed settlement, the respondents would be prohibited from making such false and unsubstantiated claims in the future.

Fleetwood manufactured and sold its CPM tables contending that they offer users weight-loss and physical-fitness benefits without the effort and pain associated with traditional forms of exercise. The tables generally come in sets of five to seven, with each table designed to exercise a different group of muscles. Fleetwood advertised nationwide by radio, television, in magazines, newspapers and through the mail.

According to the FTC complaint detailing the charges, Fleetwood falsely claimed that with little or no effort consumers who use CPM tables can reduce body weight, lose inches, remove cellulite, tone and firm muscles, and provide physical fitness benefits comparable or superior to those provided by rigorous exercise. The complaint alleges that the claims are false, and that Fleetwood did not have a reasonable basis for making them. Finally, the FTC alleged that consumer testimonials and endorsements in Fleetwood's advertising falsely represented that the inch-loss or weight-loss experienced by these consumers was typical or ordinary.

Under the proposed consent agreement settling these charges, issued today for public comment, Fleetwood would be prohibited from representing that use of its CPM tables in a manner requiring little or no effort:

Further, Fleetwood would be prohibited from making any of these representations for any passive exercise machine, or diet or fitness program, under any conditions unless it possessed "competent and reliable" scientific evidence to substantiate such claims.

The agreement also would prohibit Fleetwood from representing that a consumer endorsement or testimonial represents the typical or ordinary experience of those who use the exercise programs or CPM machines, unless that is the case.

The FTC's Chicago Regional Office handled the investigation.

The Commission vote to accept the proposed agreement for public comment was 4-1, with Commissioner Deborah K. Owen dissenting for procedural reasons.

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