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New York AG: Skechers Deceived Customers; $40M Settlement Forces Company To ‘Shape Up’

Schneiderman: Settlement Protects NYers From Deceptive Marketing Practices
Skechers Shape-ups (credit: Zappos.com)

Skechers Shape-ups (credit: Zappos.com)

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NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — If you bought Skechers “Shape Up” sneakers thinking they would help you get fit, you may have a refund coming.

The shoe company has agreed to foot a $40 million bill over claims it used celebrities like Kim Kardashian to mislead consumers, CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Wednesday.

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The shoes in question feature an unusual curved bottom. The Federal Trade Commission says the Shape Ups and related models by Skechers have been misrepresented in national ad campaigns.

1010 WINS’ Holli Haerr With More On The Story

New York Attorney General Eric  T. Schneiderman released the following statement Wednesday: “This settlement forces Skechers to ‘shape up’ by ceasing to make unsubstantiated health and medical claims for their so-called toning shoes. New Yorkers who purchased these shoes as a result of Skechers’ deceptive marketing practices will now be eligible for refunds.

“A fair market only exists when there are no false marketing claims that give one company an unfair advantage over the competition. Corporations will not be allowed to mislead consumers into spending their hard-earned money on products that promise what they can’t deliver.”

Schneiderman encourages anyone who purchased Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, or the Skechers Resistance Runner at any time to go to www.ftc.gov/skechers or call 866-325-4186 beginning today to submit a claim for a partial refund.

“When comparing its toning footwear to standard fitness shoes, Skechers puts its foot in its mouth by making unproven claims that its toning footwear strengthens muscles, increases weight loss, reduces body fat and improves circulation and aerobic conditioning,” the FTC’s David Vladeck said.

Skechers has agreed to pay customers who believed the advertising, which included endorsements from Kardashian, even though it stands by its so-called “toning technology.”

Skechers denied the allegation, saying on its website it “believes its advertising was appropriate, but has decided to settle these claims to avoid protracted legal proceedings.”

Consumers Young spoke with said they always took the claims with a grain of salt.

“Well, I found them hard to believe. I mean, I never saw any proof,” one woman said.

“People will believe any gimmick to try to lose weight the easy way. I didn’t believe it,” another woman said.

The company said it will try to conduct additional testing to back-up its claims, but the people Young spoke with at one store said they did their own test of Skechers shoes recently before deciding not to sell them.

“We’ve tried it ourselves and we don’t agree with it,” Westchester Road Runner Andy Kimerlong said.

Skechers is the second big shoe company to get in hot water with its ads. Last year, Reebok paid $25 million to customers who bought its run-tone shoes — EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes.

Have you purchased a pair of Shape-ups? Let us know below.