Indoor Tanning Company Issuing Refunds After Claiming Tanning Won’t Increase Cancer Risk

Image courtesy of Evil Erin

Because there is no magical indoor tanning system that uses UV lamps and comes with a 100% guarantee you will not get cancer from using it, a company that marketed indoor tanning systems will have to pay out refunds to consumers under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.

Illinois-based marketers of Mercola-brand indoor tanning systems will not only have to fork over refunds, but it will be permanently banned from marketing or selling those kinds of products.

The FTC claims that Dr. Joseph Mercola and his two companies — Mercola.com, LLC and Mercola.com Health Resources LLC — ran ads claiming that their indoor tanning systems are not only safe, but that research proves indoor tanning does not increase the risk of melanoma skin cancer. The ads also claimed that their systems, which deliver both ultraviolet light and red light, can “reverse the appearance of aging.”

Those claims, the FTC alleges, are false, misleading, or unsubstantiated.

The ads also falsely stated that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the use of indoor tanning systems as safe, the FTC’s complaint says, and that a group called the Vitamin D Council has recommended the tanning systems – without disclosing that the Council was paid for its endorsement.

Dr. Mercola and his companies advertised their systems through their website, Google search ads, YouTube videos, and newsletters. In the ads, they claimed that consumers could “Slash [Their] Risk of Cancer” by tanning indoors and “improve the clarity, tone and texture of [their] skin, basically giving [them] a more youthful appearance.”

“These types of false claims are especially troubling because of the serious health risks posed by indoor tanning,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The fact is, indoor tanning is not safe because it increases the risk of skin cancer, including melanoma.”

The tanning systems include tanning beds, door mount models, and standing beds for home use at prices ranging between $1,200 and $4,000 each.

Along with being banned from selling or marketing any indoor tanning systems, the defendants will have to pay refunds to consumers who bought Mercola brand tanning systems between January 1, 2012 and the present. If you’re eligible, you’ll receive a notice and claim forms from an FTC redress administrator. You’ll have to return the claim form by the date stated in the letter in order to obtain a refund.