Defendants Must Have Appropriate Scientific Support for Pesticide and Drug Claims
Two marketers of unproven cedar oil-based remedies for bed bugs and head lice have agreed to enter into settlements with the Federal Trade Commission that prohibit the allegedly deceptive claims, and require pre-approval from the Food and Drug Administration for any future treatment claims about head lice products.
The settlements resolve deceptive advertising charges the FTC filed last year against Dave Glassel and the companies he controlled, including Chemical Free Solutions, LLC, alleging that they made overhyped claims that their BEST Yet! line of cedar-oil-based liquid products would treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations.
According to the FTC, the defendants falsely claimed that their natural, BEST Yet! bed bug and head lice products were invented for the U.S. Army, that their bed bug product was acknowledged by the U.S.D.A. as the #1 choice of bio-based pesticides, and that the Environmental Protection Agency had warned consumers to avoid chemical solutions for treating bed bug infestations.
Under the agreed-upon settlement orders, the defendants are prohibited from claiming that their BEST Yet! products by themselves can stop or prevent a bed bug infestation, or are more effective at doing so than other products, unless they have competent and scientific evidence to make the claims. The defendants also are barred from claiming that their products can effectively treat head lice infestations unless those claims are non-misleading and they obtain FDA approval prior to making those claims. The defendants are further prohibited from misrepresenting the results of scientific tests or studies, and from claiming that a product or service they sell is endorsed by a government agency or by any other third-party entity when it is not.
The orders impose a $4.6 million judgment against Glassel who is facing bankruptcy, and a $185,206 judgment against Chemical Free Solutions, LLC, which will be suspended due to the company’s inability to pay. If it is later determined that the financial information the company provided the FTC was false, the full judgment amount will become due immediately.
The FTC will continue to pursue its case against the remaining three defendants, Springtech 77376, LLC, Cedar Oil Technologies Corp., and Cedarcide Industries, Inc. Consumers concerned about bed bugs also should see the FTC publication, “Battling Bed Bugs,” which urges caution about advertisements that offer quick solutions, and provides other related advice to consumers.
The Commission vote approving the proposed consent decrees with Dave Glassel and Chemical Free Solutions, LLC was 3-1. Chairwoman Ramirez and Commissioner Brill issued a joint statement. Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen, who voted no, issued a dissenting statement. Commissioner Wright issued a separate statement.
NOTE: The consent decrees are subject to court approval. Consent decrees have the force of law when signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
Office of Public Affairs
Kerry O’Brien and Linda K. Badger
FTC Western Region, San Francisco