FTC News Release
August 14, 1986
The Federal Trade Commission today announced that the marketers of the “Rotation Diet” and several related weight-reduction plans have signed a provisional consent agreement, settling charges that they made false, misleading, and unsubstantiated claims in advertising for their mail-order programs and products.
In June 1985 the FTC issued an administrative complaint against Buckingham Productions Inc., several related companies, and individuals who sold weight reduction programs under the following names: the Rotation Diet, the “No Frills” Rotation Diet, the Freedom Diet, the Freedom Plus! Diet, and the Rotation-Freedom Diet.
According to the Commission’s staff, past FTC cases have concluded that dieters will lose weight and maintain weight loss only if they reduce their total caloric intake over a period of time. The Commission challenged as false Buckingham’s claims that dieters could eat virtually unlimited quantities of any food they wished for four days each week and still lose weight if, on the other days, they followed a severely restricted low-calorie diet and took the company’s vitamin supplements and wafers. The Commission also challenged claims that the usual monthly weight loss for women was 8-20 pounds and 12-25 pounds for men. According to the complaint, Buckingham lacked substantiation for these statements and for claims that the diets were proven safe. In addition, the Commission alleged that some testimonials Buckingham used in ads were misleading, because it was not disclosed that they were given by Buckingham employees.
Under the proposed agreement, Buckingham is prohibited from claiming that consumers can eat as much food as they want and still lose weight without disclosing that weight loss depends on the reduction of total caloric intake. In addition, Buckingham may not claim that consumers have lost any specific amount of weight, that any product helps keep food from turning to fat, or that it stops hunger or prevents fatigue, unless such claims are true. Buckingham also must have competent and reliable evidence to substantiate usual, average, or range of weight-loss claims and representations about the safety of its products.
The agreement also restricts Buckingham’s use of endorsements and requires that it disclose any relationship between an endorser and the company, if that relationship might significantly affect the endorser’s credibility.
As part of the agreement, the Commission added a corporate respondent, Health and Diet Corp. Inc., and dropped charges against four individuals orginally named in the complaint.
In addition to Buckingham Productions Inc., which does business as the Rotation Diet Center, the complaint and consent name the following companies: Furlong-Elliot Corp.; Freedom Center Inc.; Plaza Business Services Inc.; NF Rotation Inc.; and Rotation-Freedom Diet Inc. All the companies are located in Furlong, PA. The complaint and consent also name Howard Elliot, an officer of the corporations. The companies and Mr. Elliot are no longer promoting mail-order diets.
NOTE TO EDITORS: Buckingham Production’s “Rotation Diet” is not related to and should not be confused with Dr. Martin Katahn’s currently available “Rotation Diet.”
- FTC File No. D-9194. Decision, 110 FTC 37.
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.