The Federal Trade Commission filed deceptive advertising charges against the marketers of the Ab Circle Pro, for telling consumers that exercising on the device for just three minutes a day would lead to losing 10 pounds in two weeks. The defendants agreed to settlements that include $15 to $25 million in refunds, depending on how many requests are received.
The Ab Circle Pro is a large disc with handlebars and knee pockets that you kneel on and then rotate your body from side-to-side. In advertisements, the makers of the device promised that a three-minute workout on the Ab Circle Pro was equivalent to doing 100 sit-ups. The infomercial also featured people claiming they had lost as much as sixty pounds using the device.
We tested the Ab Circle Pro in our labs back in 2010, and although the exercise device does engage core muscles, we found it burns no more calories than brisk walking.
If purchased through the infomercial, the Ab Circle Pro cost $200 to $250, while the price at various retailers varied widely. If you bought the Ab Circle Pro you can submit a refund claim here.
In addition to multiple versions of the infomercial, which the FTC says aired more than 10,000 times in 2009 and 2010, the Ab Circle Pro was also hyped in print ads, online, in stores, and in one- and two-minute television commercials.
The FTC complaint named the following defendants: Fitness Brands, Inc., Fitness Brands International, Inc., and the two individuals who control them, Michael Casey and David Brodess; Direct Holdings Americas, Inc. and Direct Entertainment Media Group, Inc.; infomercial producer Tara Borakos and two companies she controls, Tara Productions Inc. and New U, Inc.; and Jennifer Nicole Lee and two companies she controls, JNL, Inc. and JNL Worldwide, Inc.
Marketers of 'Ab Circle Pro' Device to Pay as Much as $25 Million in Refunds to Settle FTC Charges [FTC]