PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- Rhode Island joined 43 other states in settling a lawsuit today with Skechers USA for deceptive marketing practices.
The settlement alleges that Skechers advertised its Shape-ups, Tone-ups and Sketchers Resistance Runner shoes as having medical benefits, including toned muscles and weight loss, but those claims were "unsubstantiated."
According to Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, the shoemaker will set aside $40 million for customer refunds and pay out $5 million to the states - Rhode Island's share coming to $73,000.
"With empty promises of weight loss and toned muscles, countless Americans purchased Skechers brand rocker bottom shoes. Unfortunately, the claims made by the company were nothing more than a marketing scheme designed to sell more sneakers," Kilmartin said in a statement.
Under the terms of the settlement, Skechers is prohibited from making those claims about its products without adequate substantiation - but the company did not actually admit to any wrongdoing and continues to deny the allegations in the Attorney General's complaint.
Consumers who purchases any of the shoes - Shape-Ups, Tone-Ups, or Skechers Resistance Runner - should call the toll-free FTC consumer hotline at 1-866-325-4186 or go to www.ftc.gov/skechers for information on how to obtain a partial refund.
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