Reebok’s butt kicking

October 6, 2011

The Federal Trade Commission gave Reebok a kick in the butt for claiming it had developed a shoe that could tone women’s rears.

Without admitting any guilt, the company recently agreed to refund $25 million to customers for advertising that its “EasyTone” and “RunTone” shoes would result in 28 percent more firmed and toned muscles in the buttocks, reports the Post’s Dina ElBoghdady.

Reebok’s EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes retailed for $80 to $100 a pair, while EasyTone flip flops retailed for about $60 a pair. 

This move against Reebok is part of the FTC’s ongoing effort to put a stop to overhyped advertising claims, the agency said. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act, advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive; advertisers must have evidence to back up their claims; and advertisements cannot be unfair. The FTC pays closest attention to ads that make claims about health or safety.

“Advertisers can’t make claims about their product without having some basis for it,” said David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Protection Bureau. “That’s the law.”

To find out if the shoe really shaped the bottom and lower legs, the American Council on Exercise recruited a dozen young women, monitored their muscle and exercise response to toning shoes. The organization concluded that the shoes did nothing more for strength or tone than regular running shoes, ElBoghdady reported.

Reebok issued a statement saying that it chose to settle only to avoid a drawn-out legal battle over shoes that have received “overwhelmingly enthusiastic feedback” from customers.

Under the settlement, Reebok is barred from:

•Making claims that toning shoes and other toning apparel are effective in strengthening muscles, or that using the footwear will result in a specific percentage or amount of muscle toning or strengthening, unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence;

•Making any health or fitness-related efficacy claims for toning shoes and other toning apparel unless the claims are true and backed by scientific evidence; and

•Misrepresenting any tests, studies, or research results regarding toning shoes and other toning apparel.

“Settling does not mean we agreed with the FTC’s allegations; we do not,” the company said.

If you bought the shoes and want to be part of this settlement, submit a claim here.

Chats Today

Join me online at 11:45 a.m. for my live video chat. Don’t go far because at noon ET, my live text chat begins.

It’s just you and me today so send your money questions in early or read the archive later.

Men At Work

Is it wrong for a woman to be attracted to a man with a good job – a good paying job that is?

Washington Post advice columnist Carolyn Hax gave her two cents to a reader who wanted to know why women overlooked him because he rather read a book than work long hours.

 “I work as a security guard, which enables me to read for 40 hours a week, which I just love to do,” the man wrote to Hax. “When women find out how much money I make, their contempt for me can barely be hidden. I wonder when I am going to be valued by a woman for who I am, and not my ability to be a ‘provider.’”

I like Hax’s response.

“These women aren’t looking for a man ‘to provide for them,’ but instead to pitch in as much financial security as they do,” she wrote.

Perhaps it’s not what the guy does but his lack of ambition that turned off the ladies. I know plenty of people who help support their family on the salary of a security guard.

There are far too many women taking care of lazy men! Or women letting men live with them while they "find themselves,” or putting up with guys who for yearsrefuse to work because they’ve been “trying to start a business.” At that point, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.

Here’s this week’s Color of Money Question: Is it unreasonable for a woman to want her partner to earn enough money to cover the bills? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “Men At Work” in the subject line.

The Tipping Scale

Ever wonder what your waiter or waitress might do if you forget to tip them or hassle them too much?

One waitress found a way to get back at bad tippers.

At least nine customers at a Mugs N Jugs restaurant in Florida fell victim to a credit card skimming waitress, reported WTSP News 10 in Tampa Bay.

Kathryn Shana'e Perez, a 25-year-old waitress, along with two of her associates, are facing criminal charges for scamming thousands of dollars from restaurant patrons who Perez felt made her work too hard and didn’t tip well. Perez used a credit card scanner that made copies of customer cards. She would then pass the information on to an associate who would make fake credit cards and use them to make purchases which were later sold for cash, according to a report on Bankrate.com.

Here are some tips to stay on the good side of the wait staff:

 -- Keep in mind that your waiter or waitress is your server not servant.

-- If you are unhappy with your service, considering tipping on a sliding scale starting with 15 percent going up to 18 percent. I have a large family so if the waitress is particularly good keeping up with all our requests, my husband and I often tip as much as 20 percent.  

-- Let the manager know if your waitress or waiter has been particularly good. I do this all the time. I ask for the manager, who often approaches looking very concerned. Then I let him or her know specifically how good a job my server did. I like to believe my good comments inspire the person to continue the good work and hopefully result in some sort of bonus.

-- If you aren't getting good service during the meal, nicely voice your concern about your service, or complain to the manager just before you leave. If you say nothing and head home without leaving a tip, how will the staff know they need to do a better job?

Mommy, I Know You Have the Money

Syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson recently gave a reader advice on how to tell her adult son to butt out of her wallet when it comes to supporting her grandkids.

“You are responsible for your own life, your own finances and your own relationship with your grandchildren,” said Dickinson.

Here’s what some readers had to say about the situation.

“We must have done something to this generation for them to think this way,” wrote Michelle Battice of Farmington Hills, Mich. “Having children is not a life sentence. If you do it right, you should be able to relax and enjoy your golden years.  This boy needs to be put in his place and act like a man. How dare he!  Somewhere along the line parents are missing the point that our responsibility to our children is to arm them with the skills to make it on their own, not to be dependent on their parents until their poor parents are put out of their misery by death or homelessness.”

“I have been watching my grandchildren and am amazed at how many clothes, toys, etc. they have, and astonished that they attend a minimum of three birthday parties a month,” said Willa Jean Harner of Newville, Pa. “There is way too much spending on preschoolers and I shudder to think what they will feel entitled to in another 10 years.”

Debt Defeater

Is your new mantra, “Debt free is the way to be?”

If so, tell me about it.

Send me your debt defeater story stating how much debt you’ve paid off, how long it took and what sacrifices did you made to become debt-free. And include a statement describing your debt relief. Send your story to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Put “Debt Defeater” in the subject line.

If I read your story during my live video chat, you will receive a free T-shirt.

Upcoming Events

-- Today, I will be honored with the Bridge Builder Award at the 18th anniversary dinner and auction for The Training Source. This is a fundraising event for The Training Source, a great non-profit organization in Prince George's County that, among other services, provides training and employment placement assistance, leadership training for at-risk youth, and free professional clothing for job candidates.

The event will be held at Newton White Mansion at 2708 Enterprise Rd. in Mitchellville, Md., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information about the event, go to www.thetrainingsource.org.

Tia Lewis contributed to this e-letter.

 You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to singletarym@washpost.com . Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested. 

 

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