Sportswear brand Reebok has agreed to pay $25m (£15.9m) in consumer refunds in the US after the Federal Trade Commission alleged that it deceived consumers.
The alledged deception relates to the brand’s EasyTone footwear which, according to the FTC, Reebok made unsupported claims in advertisements about the footwear by saying that they provided extra tone and strength to leg and buttock muscles.
The advertisements claimed that walking in EasyTone footwear had been proven to lead to 28% more strength and tone in buttock muscles, 11% more strength and tone in the hamstring muscles and 11% more strength and tone in the calf muscles compared to regular shoes.
The FTC said that it had filed the complaint against Reebok as part of an ongoing effort to stem overhyped advertising claims.
Responding in a statement Reebok said: “”In order to avoid a protracted legal battle, Reebok has chosen to settle with the FTC. Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC’s allegations; we do not.”
“We stand behind our EasyTone technology — the first shoe in the toning category that was inspired by balance-ball training. We remain committed to the further development of our EasyTone line of products.”
The settlement will be made available for consumer refunds either directly from the FTC or through a court-approved class-action lawsuit.
In December an ad campaign for Reebok’s EasyTone trainers that promised “better legs and a better bum” in the UK was banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being misleading.