Consumers who bought phony green coffee weight-loss pills have another chance at a refund.
The Federal Trade Commission is sending out checks to 38,000 people who bought green coffee extract in retail stores, a couple of years after it settled a case against two companies that aggressively marketed the product as a weight-loss supplement.
Lindsey Duncan, the defendant in the settlement, used frequent appearances on "The Dr. Oz Show" and other daytime TV shows to promote green-coffee extract, which he sold through his companies, Pure Health and Genesis Today, according to the FTC.
On "The Dr. Oz show," Duncan, who was introduced as a "naturopathic doctor" despite not being one, called the extract "amazing" and claimed it would cause "rapid fat loss" by speeding the liver's ability to burn glucose. According to trade regulators, he claimed that "the supplement could cause consumers to lose 17 pounds and 16 percent of their body fat in just 12 weeks without diet or exercise, and that the claim was backed up by a clinical study."
But the study was soon retracted after the researchers were found to have falsified key data. The FTC in 2014 fined another green-coffee manufacturer, Applied Food Sciences, $3.5 million. The following year, it fined Duncan and his companies $9 million and banned them from using deceptive advertising.
That $9 million went toward refunds to about 200,000 individuals who bought the product online. But nearly $2 million worth of checks weren't cashed, which is why the FTC is now sending out another batch of refunds. This time, the checks are going to about 38,500 people who bought the Genesis Today or Pure Health green coffee extract at retail stores, such as Walmart.
The refunds average $49.66, according to the FTC. Customers may be eligible to get two checks if they bought the supplements online as well as in a store, an agency spokesman said.