CHAPTER 743l

DIET PROGRAMS

Table of Contents

Sec. 42-280. Definitions.

Sec. 42-281. Prohibited activities.

Sec. 42-282. Required disclosures by diet companies. Required provisions in diet program contracts.

Sec. 42-283. Unfair trade practices.


Sec. 42-280. Definitions. As used in sections 42-280 to 42-283, inclusive:

(1) “Diet company” means any person, except a hospital, engaged in the business of selling a product or service, the primary purpose of which is to cause weight loss in the person who uses the product or service, but does not include (A) any retailer whose sales of the diet product or service is less than fifty per cent of the total sales of the establishment, or (B) any health club or other business whose primary focus is on fitness;

(2) “Consumer” means a person who uses a diet company to cause weight loss; and

(3) “Diet program” means any service offered by a diet company to a consumer, the purpose of which is to reduce the weight of the consumer primarily through a restricted diet.

(P.A. 96-126, S. 1; P.A. 97-105, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 97-105 added definition of “diet program” as Subdiv. (3).

Sec. 42-281. Prohibited activities. A diet company shall not:

(1) Make any written representation regarding the safety of any diet program providing less than one thousand calories per day unless the diet company provides conspicuous disclosure that a physician is monitoring the program for health risks;

(2) Misrepresent the likelihood that the consumer will regain all or a significant portion of the initial weight loss;

(3) Represent the success of consumers in achieving weight loss or maintaining weight control unless the diet company possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating the representation and the diet company uses a representative sampling of consumers who have properly used the product or service for more than two weeks, but not including consumers who were unable to use the product or service for the period of time recommended by the diet company due to illness, pregnancy or change of residence;

(4) Represent that weight loss will be maintained for an extended period of time unless the diet company has evidence from a representative sampling of consumers who have properly used the diet company’s product or service for more than two weeks, but not including consumers who were unable to use the product or service for the period of time recommended by the diet company due to illness, pregnancy or change of residence, that weight loss was maintained by at least two-thirds of such consumers of such diet company’s product or service for at least two years after such time period; or

(5) Represent that weight loss will be maintained permanently unless the diet company has evidence from a representative sampling of consumers who have properly used the diet company’s product or service for more than two weeks, but not including consumers who were unable to use the product or service for the period of time recommended by the diet company due to illness, pregnancy or change of residence, that weight loss was maintained by a majority of the consumers for a period of time which is either (A) recognized by experts in the field of obesity or (B) demonstrated by competent and reliable survey evidence, as being of sufficient length to constitute a reasonable basis for predicting permanent weight loss.

(P.A. 96-126, S. 2; P.A. 97-105, S. 2.)

History: P.A. 97-105 amended Subdivs. (3), (4) and (5) by adding provision re use of product or service for more than two weeks, but not including consumers unable to use the product or service due to illness, pregnancy or change of residence.

Sec. 42-282. Required disclosures by diet companies. Required provisions in diet program contracts. (a) Any written representation by a diet company that consumers have successfully maintained weight loss must include in clear and conspicuous type and in close proximity to such representation: (1) The average percentage of weight loss maintained by a representative sample of consumers who have properly used the diet company’s product or service for more than two weeks, but not including consumers who were unable to use the product or service for the period of time recommended by the diet company due to illness, pregnancy or change of residence; (2) the average length of time weight loss was maintained after such consumers completed use of the product or service, including any maintenance program; (3) if the sample consumer population is not representative of the entire consumer population, the percentage of the entire consumer population which constitutes the sample consumer population or a statement substantially similar to the following: “These results are not representative of the entire population which properly used the product or service”; and (4) the statement “For Many Dieters, Weight Loss is Temporary”, provided, the diet company shall not represent that the statement does not apply to consumers of their product or service.

(b) Each diet program contract shall provide the consumer with (1) the right to cancel such contract, without liability, within three business days after the date of receipt by the consumer of a copy of the signed contract; (2) the estimated duration of the diet program necessary to achieve the desired weight loss and all estimated costs of the contract, including, but not limited to, the contract price and the estimated monthly cost of any goods or services required to be purchased under the contract; (3) a list of dietitian-nutritionists, advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses, physicians or physician assistants employed by or under contract with the diet company who are licensed or certified by the Commissioner of Public Health and who monitor the consumer during the diet program; and (4) the right to cancel the contract if (A) the consumer provides a letter from a physician indicating that continuation of the diet program is adverse to the health of the consumer or (B) the consumer relocates his residence further than twenty-five miles from any facility which the consumer is required to attend under the diet program. If a diet program contract is cancelled by the consumer pursuant to subdivision (4) of this subsection, the consumer shall be reimbursed on a pro-rata basis for the portion of the contract price paid by the consumer that is attributable to the unused contract period.

(P.A. 96-126, S. 3; P.A. 97-105, S. 3.)

History: P.A. 97-105 designated existing provisions as Subsec. (a), added provision to Subsec. (a) re use of product or service for more than two weeks, but not including consumers unable to use the product or service due to illness, pregnancy or change of residence and added Subsec. (b) re diet program contracts.

Sec. 42-283. Unfair trade practices. A violation of sections 42-280 to 42-282, inclusive, shall be deemed an unfair or deceptive trade practice under subsection (a) of section 42-110b.

(P.A. 96-126, S. 4.)