An administrative law judge has ordered the marketers of the Ab Force belt to stop making claims that the Ab Force causes or promotes weight, inches, or fat loss; causes or promotes well-defined abdominal muscles; or is an effective alternative to regular exercise.

Chief Administrative Law Judge Stephen J. McGuire upheld a Federal Trade Commission complaint charging Telebrands Corporation, TV Savings LLC, and their owner, Ajit Khubani, with unfair or deceptive acts or practices and false advertising.

The Fairfield, New Jersey-based operation marketed and sold the Ab Force ab belt -- an electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) device that causes the muscles to contract involuntarily.

The administrative complaint issued by the FTC in 2003 alleged that the respondents infomercials falsely claimed that users could achieve weight loss, fat loss, and inch loss, get well-developed abs, and that use of the belt is an effective equivalent to regular exercise.

The ruling follows an administrative trial to resolve the charges. Judge McGuire concluded that the respondents advertisements were likely to mislead consumers, acting reasonably under the circumstances, in a material respect. Judge McGuire noted that the record indicated that the advertisements at issue made false and misleading claims that:

• Use of the Ab Force causes loss of weight, inches, or fat;
• Use of the Ab Force causes well-defined abdominal muscles; and
• Use of the Ab Force is an effective alternative to regular exercise.

The judges initial decision is subject to review by the full Commission, either on its own motion or at the request of either party.