The FTC said it filed in federal court against the marketers of AB Energizer, AbTronic and Fast Abs, charging they falsely claimed they would cause fat loss, give well-defined abdominal muscles and were equivalent to conventional exercises such as sit-ups.
The FTC said there was no magic solution for losing weight and getting in shape. "The only winning combination is changing your diet and exercise," FTC Chairman Timothy Muris said in a statement.
The FTC further charged that the marketers falsely claimed the devices were safe for all users.
The agency said the Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites), and leading texts on electronic muscle stimulation, warn that the devices should not be used by people with conditions that include implanted pacemakers, inflamed areas or cancerous lesions.
The defendants sold the devices, costing between $40 and $120, through heavily aired infomercials on national cable television stations that featured trim models with sculpted midsections and expert opinions from health-care professionals, the FTC said.
AB Energizer and AbTronic were also featured in shorter television commercials, while Fast Abs had been advertised in national newspaper magazines, the agency said.