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By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - Claims that Skechers' fitness shoes can help shed pounds and tone muscles are sketchy at best, says the government - and they're going to cost the company millions of dollars.

The footwear company will pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that Skechers made unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach muscles.

The settlement also involves the company's Resistance Runner, Toners and Tone-ups shoes. The FTC alleges Skechers made deceptive claims about those shoes, too.

The FTC says Skechers falsely represented that clinical studies backed up the company's claims about its toning shoes.

Consumers who purchased these shoes will be eligible for a partial refund, expected to be about $20 per pair of shoes. To learn how to file a claim, consumers can call a special hotline at 866-325-4186. Consumers can also go to www.ftc.gov/skechersfor information about filing a claim.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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