3-Minute Abs? Really? So the makers of Ab Circle Pro have agreed to pay as much as $9.3 million to settle charges of consumer fraud brought by The Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to the FTC, in advertisements, the defendants promised that a three-minute workout on the Ab Circle Pro was the equivalent to doing 100 sit ups. In the infomercial, pitchwoman Jennifer Nicole Lee compared the Ab Circle Pro to a gym workout, saying, “You can either do 30 minutes of abs and cardio or just three minutes a day. The choice is yours.” The infomercial claimed that consumers using the Ab Circle Pro for three minutes a day would “melt inches and pounds,” and featured Ab Circle Pro users claiming they had lost as much as sixty pounds. Consumers buying through the infomercial typically paid $200 to $250 for the device, while the price for those buying from retailers varied more widely.[contentblock id=1 img=adsense.png]
We’ve covered so many sketchy fitness devices over the years that when we recently mocked the Ab Circle Pro for its obvious before/after Photoshop hackery, we’d forgotten that the marketers of this device were hit with a massive settlement in 2012 for falsely claiming that it could give you rock-hard abs if you used it for only three minutes a day. Well, we’re remembering now, because the Federal Trade Commission is currently sending out $9.3 million in refunds to Ab Circle Pro owners.
According to the FTC, refunds will average $47.51 per claim, which is about 1/4 of the original retail price of the device.
While nearly 200,000 Ab Circle Pro owners registered for a refund following the settlement, that appears to only be a fraction of the total number of devices purchased. The original FTC statement on the deal stated that marketers of the product — two companies owned by Reader’s Digest Association — could have faced refunds in excess of $20 million.
Unfortunately, if you are an Ab Circle Pro owner and didn’t register for a refund, that deadline has long passed. Consumers with questions about this refund can call 1-866-402-4752.
Meanwhile, let’s once again watch the 20/20 clip where Jim Avila confronts the device’s spokesperson (and co-defendant in the FTC complaint) about how the Ab Circle Pro helped her win a bikini fitness title two years before it was ever invented.