Are you one of those schlubs discerning consumers who bought Skechers Shape-Up shoes only to find that your butt and abs weren’t any more toned than before you started wearing them? Don’t worry. You didn’t do anything wrong. Sketchers lied to you.
Well, they “mislead” you. At least they did according to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has recently mailed refund checks to people who shelled out actual, physical money for those egg-shaped abominations.
A while back, the FTC found that ads for Sketchers Shape-Ups made unsubstantiated claims, including that the shoes would help you lose weight and that they would strengthen basically the entire lower half of your body.
Skechers didn’t overhype just Shape-Ups; the FTC alleges that the company also made deceptive claims about its Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups shoes. Last year, the company agreed to pay $40 million in refunds to people who bought the shoes. Now the FTC is sending out refund checks to those effected.
This is just another example of how we need to be critical of extraordinary claims that lack extraordinary proof. It doesn’t take a lot of searching to find people who will use unscrupulous tactics to make money off our pain and insecurities. And while silly-looking shoes may seem frivolous, uncritical thinking can be really dangerous.
For example, last year a Florida court ordered that the marketers of a bogus alcoholism “cure” pay $700,000 to those they duped. Not only was the cure bogus, but when customers decided to cancel, they were threatened with the exposure of their alcoholism.
That’s pretty bad, but there is worse. There are people out there who will actually claim to treat your cancer with completely unproven medications and techniques.
I find these people morally reprehensible. Whether the unscrupulous people are peddling crappy shoes and toxin-sucking footpads or miraculous alcoholism and cancer cures, they are taking advantage of people. It’s encouraging when companies are held responsible for their horrible behavior. I just wish it happened more often.
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Photo Credit: Ehsan