Tommie Copper Inc., was charged with false and deceptive advertising by the Federal Trade Commission and will pay $1.35 million payment this month to settle that claim. That will not not resolve a federal class action lawsuit brought by four Tommie Copper customers who said they were duped into buying the products for their advertised therapeutic effects but found them useless.
A federal judge this wwk issued a$86.8 million judgment against the company for claiming in infomercials and other advertising that its copper-infused compression clothing provided pain relief and other therapeutic benefits that were not proven in scientific studies. The judgment sum represents Tommie Copper’s reported gross sales in the U.S. for its compression garments from April 2011.
The company’s products include copper-infused compression sleeves, gloves, socks, braces, shirts, shorts and tights priced from $24.50 to $69.50.
If the $1.35 million payment is made this month, the remainder of the judgment will be suspended, U.S. District Court Judge Vincent L. Briccetti ruled. The full judgment will immediately be due, however, if the company misstated its assets and their value in financial statements to the FTC.
The federal order prohibits Tommie Copper from continuing to claim that the copper in its products provides pain relief to consumers; treats or relieves chronic or severe pain or pain or inflammation from diseases including multiple sclerosis, arthritis and fibromyalgia, or that the specialty apparel provides pain relief comparable or superior to drugs or surgery. The company must provide “competent and reliable scientific evidence” from clinical tests on humans wearing the product before any such claims can be made in advertising.
Television talk show host Montel Williams is also named as a defendant in the class-action complaint. Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, in infomercials for Tommie Copper extolled the copper-infused clothes for the pain relief and active life they gave him, and his statements were frequently cited by the FTC’s consumer protection attorneys and lawyers for aggrieved Tommie Copper customers in court documents.