Dallas, TX, September 12, 2012 -- It’s an appealing idea: just wear some shoes with specially-shaped soles, go about your normal routine, and reap benefits including toned legs, perfect posture, and burning calories. That’s the claim from Trim Treads, Dallas, TX, but the business hasn’t shown Better Business Bureau (BBB) that the shoes actually provide those benefits. And customers across the country are complaining about non-delivery of shoes ordered online, as well as failure to respond when customers contact Trim Treads about their orders.
Based on Trim Tread’s failure to respond to BBB’s request for substantiation of the product claims, as well as no answer from the business to complaints, Trim Treads has a BBB rating of F, the lowest rating on a scale from A+ to F.
“Consumers in search of easy ways to get healthier have been drawn to Trim Treads’ claims to burn calories and get toned, but the business hasn’t shown that it can deliver on those claims,” said Jeannette Kopko, spokesperson for BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas. “BBB warns consumers to be skeptical of products that claim a wide range of health-related benefits, and when ordering online to check out businesses with BBB.”
Since BBB opened a file on Trim Treads in November, 2011, there have been nine customer complaints about delivery problems – and seven of those are unanswered by the business. In two complaints, Trim Treads shipped the shoes, customers confirmed to BBB. One customer said, “The company did finally mail me my shoes just recently. Although they were the wrong size, I will not be asking for an exchange because they never answer their phones.”
An additional 3 complaints are pending, in the process of BBB presenting the complaints to the business and asking for a reply. Complaints are from: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.
In one complaint, a woman in Florida said, “I ordered Trim Treads sandals on March 1st and promptly received an email to confirm the purchase … I have not received the shipping notice OR the shoes. I have sent 3 emails to Trim Treads and I have also left 2 voice messages and I have gotten no reply from either avenue. The full amount of payment ($37.99 with shipping) was made on my MasterCard and has been deducted from my account.” This complaint is unanswered by Trim Treads.
As part of BBB’s continuing review of advertising claims, BBB noted that the Trim Treads website claims: “The most affordable, effective, and efficient fitness shoe on the market! Wear your Trim Treads just 30 minutes a day for:
• Lifted buns
• Toned legs
• A stronger core
• Better circulation
• Perfect posture
• Improved balance
• Burning calories”
Product claims like these should be backed up by objective information, according to BBB standards. The Advertising Review Department of BBB in Dallas contacted Trim Treads in July, 2012, noting that the BBB Code of Advertising states:
Claims as to energy savings, performance, safety, efficacy, results, etc., which will be obtained by or realized from a particular product or service should be based on recent and competent scientific, engineering or other objective data.
BBB asked Trim Treads to substantiate its claims about its shoes, and if no substantiation is provided, to modify or discontinue the claims. BBB sent a second request in August, 2012. To date, no reply has been received from the business and the product claims continue to appear on the website.
Recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) challenged claims by two shoe makers, Skechers USA, Inc., and Reebok International Ltd. Skechers has agreed to make $40 million in customer refunds to settle charges that the company deceived consumers by making unfounded claims that Shape-Ups would help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone parts of their bodies. Reebok agreed to pay $25 million in a settlement concerning claims that its “toning shoes” would provide extra tone and strength to leg and buttock muscles.
BBB also addressed the customer complaints with Trim Treads. In May, 2012, BBB contacted Trim Treads about the pattern of customer complaints on delays in product delivery. Specifically, complaints allege unusual difficulty contacting the business regarding the status of orders after being charged for the product. BBB asked Trim Treads to outline the steps it would take to avoid similar complaints in the future.
Trim Treads responded on May 22, 2012, “I have determined that we had an employee who was not handling their responsibilities in my absence. We are in the process of rectifying all customer complaints and implementing measures to make sure this does not occur again in the future.”
Since that date, BBB continues to receive customer complaints concerning non-delivery and difficulties contacting the business.
BBB and FTC offer these tips for consumers on fitness gear:
• Remember, there’s no shortcut to shaping up. Exercise is what counts, not gear like shoes.
• Avoid promises of spot reduction. Losing weight in one problem area requires regular exercise that works the whole body.
• Be skeptical of before-and-after photos, which may not be typical results. As for celebrity endorsements, they’re no proof that the product will work as claimed.
• Shop and compare before buying fitness equipment. Evaluate the advertised claims and consider whether the product fits your goals. Give equipment a test drive at a gym, recreation center, or store.
• Take note of the full price, including sales tax, shipping and delivery. Ask about return and refund policies.
For more consumer tips or to check out a business, start at www.bbb.org or on your mobile device see m.bbb.org. Get the free BBB iPhone app at www.bbb.org/iphone.