Fat's misleading: Competiton Bureau orders Nivea to reimburse consumers over false claims
The product in question, 'My Silhouette', claims the product would, amongst other things, slim and reshape the body, causing a reduction of up to three centimeters on certain areas of the body, if used regularly.
Under the terms of the consent agreement, Beiersdorf is required to immediately remove the products from Canadian shelves and has also agreed to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $300,000, as well refunding the purchase price and shipping costs to Canadian customers.
"Beiersdorf misled consumers by claiming a person could slim down by simply applying a skin cream," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "Unfortunately, consumers who purchased My Silhouette learned the hard way that there was no such easy fix."
Company claims no wrongdoing
However, following the decision, Beiersdorf noted that the consent agreement with the Competition Bureau does not imply wrongdoing.
In a written statement it said: “Beiersdorf Canada does not accept the Bureau’s views. Performance claims and testing related to Nivea My Silhouette are supported by independent research, which has always complied with Canadian requirements and guidelines.”
However, the Canadian law enforcement company said that its investigation determined that Beiersdorf made a number of deceptive claims about the skin care product.
The misleading representations were displayed on the package and on Nivea's Web site, and along with the claim to reduce up to three centimeters on some body parts it also makes claims on appearance and ingredients.
The representations stated that:
- use of the product could lead to a "reduction of up to 3 centimetres on targeted body parts, such as thighs, hips, waist and stomach"
- the product "contains a highly effective natural Bio-Slim Complex for a slimmer looking and more defined silhouette"
- and it also "combines high performance active ingredients for a dual effect of slimming & reshaping."
Under the terms of the consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal today, Beiersdorf is also required to publish a corrective notice on Nivea's Canadian Web site and in major Canadian newspapers, and to pay $80,000 to cover costs associated with the Bureau's investigation.