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Consumers who filed refund requests following a $40 million settlement of a class-action lawsuit against Skechers USA, Inc. should expect a check in the mail soon, the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday.
The lawsuit alleged that Skechers deceptively advertised its toning shoes, namely Shape-ups, Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups shoes. The shoes sold for about $60 to $100 dollars.
The company made "unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles," the FTC said.
According to a complaint filed by the FTC in 2012, the company's advertising claims included:
"Get in shape without setting foot in a gym."
"Shape-ups will help you lose weight and improve your circulation, creating a healthier you!"
"... once my Skechers Shape-ups are on snug and comfy, I'm toning my muscles, strengthening my core, burning calories."
The FTC also alleged in the complaint that clinical studies conducted for Skechers, upon which some advertising claims were made, used faulty methods. Two of the studies were conducted by a chiropractor who was married to a senior vice president of marketing at Skechers. One study lasted only six weeks, had only eight participants and included no control group, the complaint said. Another study allegedly included falsified data.
The settlement administrator will begin mailing the 509,175 refund checks on Friday. The checks must be cashed by October 10. The deadline for filing a refund request has passed.
Some contractors accepted downpayments but failed to do any work or return the money. Some did shoddy work and failed to fix it. Others failed to take out permits or received insurance payouts for certain work but provided something different.
Of the 10 contractors, two provided work to a total of three north Minneapolis homeowners whose houses suffered damage when a tornado ripped through the area in 2011. The contractors signed up the residents the same day the tornado hit or a couple days later.
Whistleblower asked the department if it has kept a tally of the number of tornado victims who contacted the state about the work done by contractors they had hired.
The answer: 23.
If you have a complaint about the work a contractor has done for you and want to alert the state, click here or call 651-284-5069
Here's some advice from the department if you find yourself needing a contractor after disaster hits.
Watch out for scammers selling health care before it's actually available.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers are being contacted with offers to sign up for discounted health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace, a feature of the Affordable Care Act.
But enrollment through the Marketplace doesn't begin until October 1. Scammers are just trying to get consumers to "give up money or personal information. Scammers want to get to you before you have time to think," the FTC said.
Colleague Jackie Crosby wrote about the state's efforts to get its MNsure exchange up and running by October 1.
The Commission urges consumers to let them know about any such attempts to sell you insurance. You can file a complaint by clicking here.
If you would like more information about the upcoming changes under the Act, click here.
Don't use sunscreen spray near an open flame or you may find yourself on fire.
That's the message from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration which received five reports last year of people doing just that and sustaining burns serious enough to warrant a trip to the hospital.
In each of the incidents the fire occurred after the sunscreen had already been applied and the victim neared an ignition source, such as a lighted match. In one case, the victim began welding after applying the sunscreen.
Though the specific products involved in the incidents were recalled, other sunscreen sprays contain a flammable ingredient such as alcohol. Sunscreen spray is not the only product to worry about. Spray insect repellants, hairspray and even non-spray sunscreens may contain a flammable ingredient.
The state has revoked an agreement with the city of St. Paul that allowed city employees to conduct restaurant food-code inspections after the state found "serious errors" in inspection reports, according to a Minnesota Department of Health statement Wednesday.
Whistleblower has periodically analyzed inspection data and published a list of the ten St. Paul restaurants inspected within a certain period of time that have had the highest number of new or unabated critical violations. The columns have always drawn high reader interest with findings of filthy kitchens, moldy ice machines and hot and cold food held at lukewarm temperatures.
But a June 2012 review by the state found a high number of inaccurate or incomplete reports, some including an inaccurate categorization of the risk level associated with each restaurant, according to the statement.
The state told the city its employees needed to ramp up the number of inspections per employee from an average of 8.8 to 25 per month, but some employees were given other duties that took them away from inspections.
As a consequence of the review, the city was to provide the state with monthly reports, but it failed to do so. The state will now resume responsibility for restaurant inspections, swimming pools and hotels.
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