WASHINGTON -- Claims that Skechers' fitness shoes can help shed pounds and tone muscles are sketchy at best, says the government -- and they're going to cost the company millions of dollars.
The footwear company will pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that Skechers made unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach muscles.
More than 40 states, including Oregon and Washington, filed a lawsuit about the deceptive advertising claims. The settlement sets aside $40 million for consumer rebates and $5 million to the participating states. Oregon will receive $89,752.
Washington state will receive $117,138. About half will cover the state's legal fees and the rest will be used for consumer education, for health care purposes including but not limited to health-related research or education or programs directed towards girls' or women's' physical fitness, proper nutrition or reduction of obesity, according to a statement from the Washington Attorney General's Office.
More: How to apply for a Skechers refund
The settlement also involves the company's Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups shoes. The FTC alleges Skechers made deceptive claims about those shoes, too.
The FTC says Skechers falsely represented that clinical studies backed up the company's claims about its toning shoes.
Consumers who bought the shoes will be eligible for refunds.
All consumer complaints should be filed with the Washington State Attorney General's Office: http://www.atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx.