|For Release: January
FTC Challenges Weight-loss Claims for Slim
Informercials Ran Nationally
The Federal Trade Commission today charged Slim Down
Solution, LLC, Maderia Management, Inc., and several related companies and individuals
with using false and unsubstantiated claims in the marketing and advertising of "Slim
Down Solution" - a purported weight-loss product. The advertising claimed that the
product's key ingredient, D-glucosamine, absorbs up to 20 grams of dietary fat and causes
significant weight loss without diet or exercise. According to the FTC complaint, these
claims are false.
The FTC's complaint names Slim Down Solution, LLC, Slim Down
Solution, Inc., S.S.T. Management, Inc., The KARA Group, LLC, and their principals, Ronald
Alarcon and Kathleen Alarcon (collectively, SDS defendants); and Maderia Management, Inc.,
Polyglucosamine, Ltd., and their principal, Steven Pierce (collectively, Maderia
defendants). The SDS defendants, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, have advertised and
sold Slim Down Solution through nationally-disseminated infomercials that aired on cable
television channels such as Bravo, Comedy Central, and PAX Cable, and on the Internet at
www.slimdownsolution.com. In addition, the SDS defendants sell their product through a
continuity program, automatically shipping consumers Slim Down Solution and charging
consumers' credit cards or debiting their bank accounts monthly. The Maderia defendants,
based in Conroe, Texas, have manufactured and sold D-glucosamine products directly to
consumers and other resellers through their Internet sites, including
www.polyglucosamine.com. Resellers, in turn, promoted the products to consumers under
private labels such as "Fight the Fat," "Everslim," "Mini
Max," and "Slim Down Solution."
The FTC is seeking permanent injunctive relief and consumer
redress against all of the defendants. Concurrently with the filing of its complaint in
this matter, the FTC filed a stipulated preliminary injunction against the SDS defendants
that, when signed by the judge, will preliminarily enjoin use of the challenged claims in
"It's no secret that claims promoting significant weight
loss without diet or exercise are false," said Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's
Bureau of Consumer Protection. "The scientific community knows it, the law
enforcement community knows it, and the media know it. Law enforcement has been
significant and aggressive on the issue. But it's clear we need the media's help to keep
these bogus claims from reaching consumers. Although hope for quick and easy weight loss
springs eternal, the only real solutions require eating less and exercising more."
In November 2002, the Commission conducted a workshop on
weight-loss advertising that focused on identifying false weight-loss claims and exploring
what the media could and should do to stop weight-loss fraud. "The workshop was
successful," said Beales. "We intend to follow up with additional media
guidance. Protecting the public from fraudulent weight-loss advertising will require the
cooperation of the media that run these ads. When it comes to false weight-loss product
claims, we are asking the media to work with us to protect their viewers from this kind of
The SDS Defendants
In their advertisements, the SDS defendants used such
- "The Slim Down Solution is an incredible tiny tablet that
contains D-Glucosamine, a powerful, all-natural, fat magnet and trapper . . . . One tablet
can help eliminate as much as 20 grams of Fat!"
- "Lose 10 Pounds And 2 Inches In 30 Days Or Your Money
- "[T]here are many diet programs and systems out there. .
. . But the one thing they all have in common is that you have to change your lifestyle
and your eating habits for them to be successful. . . . The Slim Down Solution doesn't
require you to change anything. That's the beauty of it. It's effortless."
The complaint alleges that the SDS defendants violated the
FTC Act by falsely representing that Slim Down Solution:
- causes substantial weight loss without calorie reduction or
exercise, enabling consumers to lose at least 10 pounds and two inches in 30 days;
- causes weight loss even if consumers eat substantial amounts
of food high in fat, including hamburgers, chocolate, cheesecake, chicken nuggets, and
french fries; and isolates up to 20 grams of dietary fat per dose, then binds it to be
carried out of the body as waste.
The FTC further alleges that the SDS defendants did not
possess a reasonable basis to substantiate these claims, or the claim that Slim Down
Solution causes weight loss, at the time the claims were made. The FTC further alleges
that the defendants falsely stated that independent laboratory testing using U.S.
government standards proves that Slim Down Solution binds dietary fat in the human
digestive system, when such was not the case. In addition, the complaint alleges that the
SDS defendants improperly charged consumers' credit cards or debited their bank accounts
through the continuity program.
The Maderia Defendants
The complaint alleges that the Maderia defendants provided
the means and instrumentalities for the SDS defendants to make their deceptive claims. It
also alleges that the Maderia defendants falsely represented that their D-glucosamine
products isolate up to 16-20 grams of dietary fat per dose, then bind it to be carried out
of the body as waste; falsely represented that independent studies prove that its
D-glucosamine products absorb dietary fat, thereby causing weight loss in humans; and
represented without adequate substantiation that their D-glucosamine products cause weight
The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint
was 5-0. The complaint and stipulated preliminary injunction were filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Florida, West Palm Beach Division, on January
The FTC has the following tips for consumers who are
interested in weight-loss products or programs:
- Products and programs that promise quick and easy weight loss
are bogus. To lose weight, you have to lower your intake of calories and increase your
- The faster you lose weight, the more likely you are to gain it
back. Experts recommend a goal of about a pound a week.
- There are no miracle weight-loss products. Be skeptical of
products and programs that claim they can keep weight off permanently. Be skeptical about
For more information on weight loss and diets, visit the
FTC's Web site at: www.ftc.gov/dietfit.