PROMISES, PROMISES� BUYERS BEWARE,
ON ABC NEWS� �20/20,� FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16
From losing weight to staying young and even getting enough sleep, consumers hear a multitude of promises. But what�s really behind the hype on some incredible sounding products or opportunities? �20/20� reports on why something �too good to be true� might be just that and why consumers should pay close attention to the fine print, FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Reports include:
Weight Loss: People who turn to LA Weight Loss have a lot to lose� more than they know, say some critics. The national chain of 850 centers is one of the biggest weight loss companies in the country. It has lured millions through its doors by heavily advertising incredibly shrinking clients and an affordable seven-dollar-a-week price tag. But some of diet centers have come under fire, accused of using unfair tactics to push products on vulnerable consumers. The company denies any wrongdoing. JuJu Chang investigates.
Counterfeits: Nowadays if you�re hip and hot, it�s not enough to have the latest designer outfit or sexy stilettos; it�s about having the right handbag. From the rich and famous to the working girl, expensive handbags, whether classic or trendy, have become the emblem of status. But what�s a stylish girl on a budget to do? Well, if she�s internet savvy, maybe there�s hope. Thousands of websites offer designer bags at discounted priced. But are they real? �20/20� purchased six advertised designer bags, including a Louis Vuitton, a Chanel, a Fendi and a Herme Birkin bag, off of five different websites at a fraction of their normal retail prices to find out. Trademark attorney Harley Lewin represents many luxury brands and believes the sale of counterfeit goods on the internet is a huge and growing business. �The profitability� the money involved in the flow of counterfeit goods on a per capita or per unit basis, is more profitable than narcotics,� he tells �20/20.� Deborah Roberts reports.
Suzanne Somers on Staying Young: In her bestselling new book, Ageless, Suzanne Somers shares her personal secret to a healthy young life: Using so-called �bioidentical hormones� to replace the natural hormones in our bodies � estrogen, progesterone and others � that decrease with age. Hormone replacement therapy has been practiced for decades with prescription drugs � one from the urine of pregnant mares � considered traditional �synthetic hormones.� Somers says custom mixed bioidentical versions are closer to the ones our bodies make and work even better, with miraculous anti-aging benefits. Just look at me, she says � a glowing 60 years old. But do these bioidenticals have potentially serious safety risks?
�20/20's� Lynn Sherr tries to get to the bottom of such questions as: Are bioidenticals really better than synthetic hormones? Do bioidenticals really protect women from cancer or do they, as many scientists believe, carry a risk of cancer? What are the credentials of the so-called cutting edge doctors in Somers� book? We dig up some surprising facts.
Somers admits the safety of bioidenticals that she touts has yet to be proven, and that they need to be studied further to determine potential risks. When asked whether she will have any qualms years from now if studies determine bioidenticals are no less risky than traditional hormones, she says �I do not drag anybody into any doctor's office. I do not force anybody to do anything� I walk the walk. If I'm wrong, I'll be in the same boat as everybody else. I don't think I'm wrong. At some point in life, it is a roll of the dice. And let's just call this a roll of the dice,� Somers says.
The Awake Pill: In our fast-paced 24/7 world, with round-the-clock jobs and non-stop interruptions, the average American gets less than seven hours of sleep a night, and millions even get less than six. That�s why all sleep experts agree that we are a sleepy country. No wonder the sales of Provigil � a prescription drug to treat certain sleep disorders � are exploding. They were $800 million dollars last year. So �20/20� set out to discover if this so-called awake pill is really the wonder drug for sleepy America. Dr. Tim Johnson reports.
Fine Print: So many products today have fine print disclaimers which are suppose to protect consumers. But do they really? John Stossel reports that to avoid broken promises, consumers should use a magnifying glass.
�20/20� is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is the executive producer.