L&S Research Corporation Agrees to Pay $1.45 Million
to Settle Deceptive Advertising Charges

FTC News Release
July 14, 1994

L&S Research Corporation of Lakewood, NJ, and its founder, Scott Chinery, have agreed to pay $1.45 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made numerous false and unsubstantiated claims in the advertising and sale of their bodybuilding and weight-loss products.

In addition to requiring the disgorgement payment, the proposed settlement would prohibit L&S and Chinery from misrepresentations regarding the efficacy of its products and require substantiation in the form of competent and reliable scientific evidence for future bodybuilding and weight-loss claims.

The FTC complaint detailing the charges covers two L&S bodybuilding products and three weight-loss products, marketed under the trade name "Cybergenics" and advertised in popular health and fitness magazines, fashion magazines, on national television, and through direct mail. According to the complaint, the respondents advertised that Cybergenics Total Body Building System and Cybergenics for Hard Gainers products caused users to gain more muscle mass, lose more body fat, and do so more rapidly than non-users. Their ads also claimed that scientific research supported their claims. These representations were false, unsubstantiated, or both, the agency charged.

The complaint also alleges that certain claims for the weight reduction products — Cybergenics Cybertrim, Cybergenics QuickTrim, and Cybergenics Mega-Fat Burner Tablet (also called Super Fat-Loss Tablet) — were false and misleading. According to the complaint allegations, ads for these products deceptively claimed that they caused users to burn more fat and lose more weight than non-users. The complaint also challenged allegedly deceptive claims that Cybergenics QuickTrim is beneficial to older women in causing weight loss.

In addition, the FTC alleged that the use of "before" and "after" photos of purported users of both the body-building and weight-loss products was deceptive because the photos did not reflect the typical or ordinary experience of users. Further, the Commission complaint charges that the use of "before" and "after" pictures of a particular man in the advertising for Cybergenics Total Body System was misleading because the man was a champion body builder and, therefore, his results, as shown in the "after" picture, were not typical of ordinary users.

The proposed consent agreement settling these charges would prohibit claims about weight loss, weight-loss maintenance, hunger suppression, muscle development, and cholesterol levels that are not substantiated by scientific evidence; prohibit misrepresentations that scientific evidence demonstrates the efficacy of the L&S products; and restricts the use of endorsements, including "before" and "after" pictures, which are not representative of the typical or ordinary experience of users, unless certain disclosures are made. In addition, the respondents would be prohibited from misrepresenting the existence or results of any test or study.

The five-member Commission vote to announce the complaint and proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0.

In a separate, concurring statement, Commissioner Mary L Azcuenaga said that although she did "not support the complaint to the extent that the maintenance claim for Mega-Fat Burner and the maturing women weight loss claim for Quick Trim are alleged to be false, not unsubstantiated," she voted to accept the consent agreement for public comment because, "the Commission has strong evidence supporting the central allegations in this complaint."

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