This past week, several consumer actions made headlines that affect the retail industry.

Weight-Loss Drug Maker Settles Claims and Sheds $3.7 Million

Makers of BioTherapex and NeuroPlus agreed to refrain from engaging in numerous business practices, including making marketing claims that are not substantiated by scientific evidence. Specifically, they are banned from making any of the seven “gut check” weight-loss claims that the FTC has warned are always false for over-the-counter dietary supplements, like BioTherapex. Additionally, they are banned from making unsubstantiated or false claims about the benefits of NeuroPlus in protecting against Alzheimer’s and dementia. Defendants are also ordered to pay $3.7 million, which will be suspended upon payment of $800,000.

FTC Announces Workshop to Enhance its Vision of Amendments to the Contact Lens Rule

The FTC announced it will host a workshop on March 7, 2018, to examine the contact lens marketplace in conjunction with the FTC’s December 2016 notice of proposed amendments to the Contact Lens Rule. The 2018 workshop will cover competition in the marketplace and new and existing technology that benefits consumer choice and portability when making contact lens purchases.

Subway Backtracks Sweepstake Advertising to Children

Subway agreed to change the way it advertises sweepstakes to children. In a recent investigation led by the advertising industry’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (“CARU”), CARU found that Subway did not adequately communicate that you must be 18 years or older to enter, that you could enter without purchase, and that the language of the advertising created undue sales pressure. Subway agreed to take CARU’s recommendations in account in future advertising to children.

Arm & Hammer Cat Litter Claims Found to be “Rock Hard” by the BBB

Arm & Hammer’s cat litter claims were found to be substantiated by the NAD, an investigative unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. The Clorox Company, maker of Fresh Steps cat litters, challenged claims made by Arm & Hammer Slide Cat Litter that Slide produces “rock-hard clumps,” rather than sticking to the side of the litter box like other litters in the category. The NAD found these claims to be substantiated, but cautioned Arm & Hammer against using “outlandish scenarios” of how other cat litters performed.