Two companies who marketed and sold bogus cell phone radiation protection patches have settled Federal Trade Commission charges that they violated federal laws by making false and misleading claims about their products. Using television and Internet advertising, Safety Cell, Inc. and Rhino International, Inc. deceptively indicated that their patches, designed to fit over the earpiece of any cell phone, could block a substantial amount of radiation and other electromagnetic energy emitted by cellular telephones, thereby reducing consumers’ exposure to this radiation. Under separate settlements, both sets of defendants are required to have adequate scientific evidence to substantiate claims about the performance, efficacy, or benefit of any good or service. The settlement in Rhino requires them to pay $342,665 in redress to consumers who purchased Rhino’s “WaveScrambler” patch.
Rhino International, Inc.
According to the FTC, the Sag Harbor, New York-based company and its principals, Nigel Harrison and Sherry Molina, marketed and sold the “WaveScrambler” patch, claiming that their product could block 99 percent of electromagnetic waves emitted by cellular phones and cordless phones.
Safety Cell, Inc.
According to the FTC, Safety Cell, based in Brooklyn, New York, and its principal, Jerry Berger, marketed the “WaveGuard” cell phone shield. The FTC alleged that the defendants claimed that their WaveGuard patch blocked most of the electromagnetic energy emitted from cell phones.
Under separate stipulated orders, which the court approved, the defendants are prohibited from the future marketing or selling of any product that claims to protect consumers from harmful radiation and electromagnetic energy, unless the claims can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence. The orders also prohibit the defendants from making unsubstantiated representations about the performance, efficacy, or benefits of any good or service. The settlements require both sets of defendants to indicate clearly in connection with claims that any device protects consumers from cell phone radiation that most electromagnetic energy emitted by cell phones comes from parts of the phone other than the earpiece, and that the WaveScrambler and WaveGuard have no significant effect on this other electromagnetic radiation. Additionally, the settlements prohibit the defendants from misrepresenting the results of any test, study, or research. Finally, the settlements contain various recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants’ compliance.
The Commission vote to approve the filing of the two complaints and stipulated final orders for permanent injunctions were 5-0. The documents were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on August 6, 2003.
NOTE: These stipulated final orders for permanent injunctions are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by the defendants of a law violation. A stipulated final order for permanent injunction has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the two complaints and the stipulated final orders for permanent injunctions are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
(FTC File No. 012 3079 - Rhino International; Civil Action No. CV 03-3850)
FTC File No. 012 3077 - Safety Cell; Civil Action No. CV 03-3851)