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Archived — Competition Bureau requires maker of Nivea to reimburse customers for misleading claims

OTTAWA, September 7, 2011 — The Competition Bureau has reached a settlement with Beiersdorf Canada Inc., Nivea's Canadian distributor, to stop making what the Bureau has concluded were false or misleading claims about one of its Nivea products. The claims suggested, among other things, that regular use of the product slims and reshapes the body, causing a reduction of up to three centimetres on targeted areas. Under the terms of the consent agreement, Beiersdorf is required to immediately remove the products from Canadian shelves. Beiersdorf has also agreed to pay an administrative monetary penalty of $300,000, and to refund the purchase price and shipping costs to Canadian customers.

A Bureau investigation determined that Beiersdorf made a number of deceptive claims about its "My Silhouette" product. The misleading representations were displayed on the package and on Nivea's Web site. 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";
  • My Silhouette "contains a highly effective natural Bio-Slim Complex for a slimmer looking and more defined silhouette"; and
  • My Silhouette "combines high performance active ingredients for a dual effect of slimming & reshaping."

Beiersdorf's representations also created the misleading impression that use of the product could make the skin more toned and elastic.

"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."

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.

Customers who purchased the My Silhouette product may contact Beiersdorf to obtain a refund. For more information about refunds, please consult the Nivea Web site.

A copy of the consent agreement will be posted shortly on the Competition Tribunal Web site.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.

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