BBB National Programs Archive

ERSP Reviews Claims For Contouring Technology

New  York, NY – August  13, 2008 – The  Electronic  Retailing  Self-Regulation  Program (ERSP) has  determined  that  Contour Technology,  which markets  the Contour Core Sculpting  System, has provided  a reasonable  basis  for general  performance claims and a consumer testimonial.  However, ERSP  has recommended the company modify or  discontinue  certain  other  advertising  claims  and  testimonials  for  the  muscle stimulation  device.   The marketer’s  advertising  came to ERSP’s  attention  pursuant to an anonymous consumer complaint.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s  self-regulatory  forum, is  administered by   the  Council  of   Better  Business  Bureaus  (CBBB)  with  policy  oversight  by   the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

ERSP  examined  online  advertising  for the product, including  streaming  video.  Claims at issue in the ERSP  inquiry included:

Performance Claims

  • •           “Contour is a safe and extremely effective muscle stimulation device cleared by  the FDA, that stimulates your core muscles directly, so with Contour, you work your upper abs, lower abs, obliques on both sides   as well as that stubborn lower belly area, all at the same  time.”
  • •           “Everything you need to lose 3 inches off your mid section in 2 weeks.
  • Guaranteed!
  • •           “Guaranteed to give you the best abs you’ll ever have!”; “Absolutely the best way to get the best abs you will ever have”
  • •           “There has never been an easier, more effective way to get great  looking abs”

Establishment Claims

  • •           “Contour activates your entire core. In fact, this technology is found to have over 600% more muscle activation than traditional crunches”
  • •           “In fact, the technology used in Contour can do  what the human brain can’t do  …. It can activate up to 100% of your muscle fibers. More activation means more results.”
  • •           “The Clinical observation study concluded that ‘inches’ were lost in the upper, middle, outer and lower abdominal region”

Comparative Claim

  • •           “The difference between a product used by  doctors and therapists and Contour is that Contour is easier to use, more comfortable and more powerful.”

Consumer Testimonials

  • •           “It’s only 30 minutes, is nothing, and you have (a) really good workout”- Anna Folkerth
  • •           “The contraction you get from it is 10 times more than a crunch”-Chivas Stanley
  • •           “I am able to see the six pack now that  I’ve always wanted and I don’t have to do  anything” – Patricia Barry


At the outset, the marketer asserted that performance claims for the Contour Core Sculpting System should be evaluated in conjunction with a consumer’s use of all components of the Contour program, including the Contour CoreBelt, Diet Plan, Exercise Guide and VIP Hotline.

ERSP  determined, however, that consumers could reasonably believe that use of the CoreBelt alone would product the advertised results. ERSP  recommended the advertising be modified to clearly and conspicuously disclose that the results depicted are based on a consumer’s use of all program  components.

ERSP  recommended the marketer discontinue the claim that  the Contour CoreBelt is “more powerful” than  products  used by  doctors and therapists.

ERSP  determined that the claim “There has never been a more effective … way to get great  looking abs” was unsupported by  the evidence in the record.  Further, ERSP determined that the advertiser did  not provide adequate support for the testimonials offered by  “Chivas Stanley” and “Patricia Barry.” ERSP  concluded the remaining testimonial was puffery.

ERSP  determined that the results of tests offered by  the advertiser as evidence provided a reasonable basis for general performance claims regarding muscle strength and endurance.

Finally, ERSP  recommended that the marketer clearly and conspicuously put consumers on notice that the performance guarantee pertains to a refund of the purchase price, should the promised results not be achieved.

The company,  in its marketer’s statement, said “Contour Technology has read through the Basis of Inquiry and the recommendations given and sees no problems with changing the advertising for the Contour Core Sculpting System pursuant to those recommendations.”