TODAY

TODAY   |  January 08, 2014

FTC accuses weight-loss products of deception

NBC News investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen reports on a federal crackdown on popular weight-loss products, with companies accused of making false promises to consumers.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let's begin with a federal crackdown on popular weight loss products. several major companies accused of false promises. jeff rossen has the details. good morning.

>> good morning to you. talk about timing here. so many of us making new year's resolutions to lose weight . and buying these products to help out with it. but now the federal government says you've been fooled. they're cracking down and taking action against some of the most popular products, saying there's no proof they actually work. your chance of really losing weight , slim to none. this morning, officials are naming names.

>> diets are hard, but sensa is easy as shake and lose weight .

>> have you seen these ads? they're everywhere.

>> eat all the foods you love and watch the pounds come off.

>> just sprinkle these crystals on your food and shed the pounds. americans bought it, $364 million in sales.

>> the amazing new clinically proven sensation.

>> but the federal trade commission says the science isn't there. accusing sensa of deceptive advertising with unfounded weight loss claims.

>> all of the studies were wholly inadequate and not conducted in a scientific manner. and one of the studies even included fabricated data according to our evidence.

>> now sensa has agreed to settle with the government, forking over $26.5 million in customer refunds. in a statement, the company says we stand behind sensa and have invested millions of dollars to conduct studies to substantiate our claims.

>> do you want to get rid of this, too?

>> the government also targeting ads from this company. hcg diet direct. their drops promise weight loss . also on the fed's list, these so-called slimming creams. all the companies now accused of misleading customers and all settling with the government without admitting any wrong doing.

>> our message for consumers is be very wary of pills, patches and powders that claim rapid and substantial weight loss without diet or exercise.

>> those companies are all allowed to stay in business, but they have to stop making those misleading claims. all the companies have agreed to change the way they advertise. by the way, there may be money in this for you. the ftc plans to use that settlement money to refund customers just like you who may have bought the products. they're still figuring out, matt and natalie, the best way to do that. but stay tuned , may be money in it.

>> we'll put information up on our website so people can check that out.

>>> let's get a check of