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