Two things that bug us: 1) head lice, bed bugs, and other creepy crawlies that score off the charts on the eeww-ometer; and 2) companies that make deceptive claims that their products can treat and prevent infestations. Settlements the FTC just announced with the marketers of the BEST Yet! line of cedar oil-based products reminds companies of the importance of backing up claims with sound science.
Last year the FTC sued Dave Glassel and related companies, including Chemical Free Solutions, LLC, for making deceptive representations that the products — advertised online, on Amazon.com, and in radio ads — would treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations. According to the complaint, the defendants also falsely claimed their BEST Yet! products were invented for the U.S. Army and were USDA’s #1 choice among bio-based pesticides. In addition, the FTC challenged the claim that EPA had warned consumers to avoid synthetic pesticides for treating bed bug infestations.
Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants won’t be making claims that BEST Yet! products by themselves can stop or prevent bed bug infestation or that they’re more effective than other products unless they have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up what they say. They’re also barred from saying their products can effectively treat head lice unless those claims are truthful and they have FDA approval beforehand. The settlement also prohibits false representations that their products are endorsed by a government agency or other group.
On the financial front, the order imposes a $4.6 million judgment against company president Glassel, who’s facing bankruptcy, and an additional $185,206 judgment against Chemical Free Solutions. The FTC’s action against the remaining defendants in the case is pending.
Starting to squirm just a little every time you read the word “infestation”? Find out more from the FTC about battling bed bugs. Business travelers, check out Creepy Little Blood Suckers for special prevention tips when you're on the road.