Ottawa Citizen

Reebok to refund $2.2 million to settle ‘toning’ class-action

Claims included tighter, stronger muscles

- ROBERT BOSTELAAR

Canadians who didn’t get the firmer buttocks and leg muscles they had hoped from a line of Reebok “toning” garments can get their money back as part of a $2.2-million classactio­n settlement.

Refunds of up to $100 for running and walking shoes and $80 for clothing that includes capri pants, bras and sleeveless shirts will be offered under the settlement, which received final court approval last month.

The agreement follows a $25-million settlement in the United States after the Federal Trade Commission sued Reebok for deceptive advertisin­g.

According to the FTC, the manufactur­er claimed its technology featuring pockets of moving air creates “micro instabilit­y” that could lead to 28-per-cent more strength and tone in buttock muscles and 11-per-cent more strength in hamstring and calf muscles, compared with other shoes.

Regulators in both Canada and the U.S. are giving increasing scrutiny to the claims of health and beauty products.

Last September, the Canadian distributo­r of Nivea products agreed to repay customers for misleading claims suggesting the use of its creams leads to a more slender and toned body. As part of the settlement with the federal Competitio­n Bureau, the company also paid a $300,000 fine.

Reebok could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but on its U.S. website the company said it disagreed with the FTC allegation­s and settled that case only to avoid protracted litigation.

“We fully stand behind our EasyTone technology — the first shoe in the toning category inspired by balancebal­l training,” Reebok said.

The company said it has received thousands of testimonia­ls from customers and has two separate studies underway to test its EasyTone footwear and apparel.

Jeff Orenstein, a Montreal lawyer who helped lead the class action, said he expects many Canadians to apply for payments because of the strong sales of the toning products and because of the attention the U.S. case has received.

More than 3,000 claims submitted by Canadians in the U.S. case will be referred to administra­tors of the Canadian agreement, he said.

As well, claimants are not required to provide proof of purchase for claims under $200, a provision Orenstein said should add to the participat­ion rate.

Details are available at reebokcana­dasettleme­nt.ca

The settlement provides for Reebok Canada to pay out a maximum of $2.2 million. Orenstein said he expects all claimants will be reimbursed after administra­tion costs and legal fees — lawyers have applied for 25 per cent of the settlement — are subtracted.

 ?? CHRISTOPHE­R POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR REEBOK ?? Actress Eva Mendes shows off items from Reebok’s toning collection last year in Beverly Hills, California. Reebok says it stands behind its EasyTone technology — which claimed firmer buttocks and leg muscles from its toning garments — but has agreed to...
CHRISTOPHE­R POLK/GETTY IMAGES FOR REEBOK Actress Eva Mendes shows off items from Reebok’s toning collection last year in Beverly Hills, California. Reebok says it stands behind its EasyTone technology — which claimed firmer buttocks and leg muscles from its toning garments — but has agreed to...

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