Buyers of Skechers 'Shape-ups' get partial refund in settlement over false ad

by: Amy Clancy, KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator Updated:

SEATTLE —

If you bought into those claims that a shoe could shape you up without even a workout, you could be getting some money back.

 

The country's largest false-advertising settlement in years involves a $40 million payout because Skecher's claims to help sculpt your body are sketchy at best.

 

In ads, Kim Kardashian says she's dumping her personal trainer because she can get the same results simply by lacing into her Skechers "Shape-Ups."

 

"There's just no scientific evidence that that's true," said Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.

 

McKenna on Wednesday announced that Skechers USA will pay 44 states, including Washington, to settle a lawsuit that alleges the shoes' muscle-strengthening, posture-improving, blood-circulating and stress-reducing claims don't have supporting evidence.

 

Skechers' "rocker-bottom" design is a popular selling point.

 

But under the settlement, Skechers can no longer make health and fitness claims unless it has scientific proof resulting from studies the company does not pay for.

 

Question: "But they're going to continue to make the shoes, correct?"

McKenna: "They're going to continue to make the shoes and they might even continue to call them shape-ups, which I think is misleading in and of itself, but the advertising campaign using celebrities and others to claim that this will actually by itself improve your fitness over just walking around -- they'll have to stop doing that."

 

As part of the settlement, Skechers will pay up to $40 million nationwide, nearly $120 thousand to Washington state.

 

Half of that will cover attorneys' fees. The other half will go towards consumer health care programs.

 

People who bought the shoes are entitled to get some money back, but not the full purchase price.

 

Apply here -- http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/cases/skechers/index.shtm -- for a partial refund.