WASHINGTON - Bras, girdles and leggings infused with caffeine and sold as weight-loss aids were more decaf than espresso, and the companies that sold them have agreed to refund money to customers and withdraw their advertisements, United States regulators said on Monday.
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Wacoal America and Norm Thompson Outfitters were accused of deceptive advertising that claimed their caffeine-impregnated clothing would cause the wearer to lose weight and have less cellulite.
"If someone says you can lose weight by wearing the clothes they are selling, steer clear. The best approach is tried and true - diet and exercise," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection.
In the case of Oregon-based Norm Thompson, the company sold clothing made with Lytess brand fabric infused with caffeine which, the company claimed, would break down fat.
"Slimming and firming results are visible in under a month," the company said in an advertisement that the commission quoted in its complaint.
Wacoal America, based in New Jersey, advertised that its clothing had microcapsules with caffeine, vitamin E and other chemicals that it said led to weight loss. In one ad, it cited the "revolutionary iPant new shapewear that works with your body to eliminate cellulite", the FTC said.
In both cases, the companies did not have evidence to back up their claims that the clothing would lead to substantial weight loss, the commission said.
Neither company immediately responded to attempts to reach them for comment. Refunds totalling about US$1.5 million (S$1.9 million) will be made, the FTC said.