FOR RELEASE: FEBRUARY 2, 1993
SELLER OF ELECTRICAL DEVICE AGREES TO SETTLE FTC CHARGES OF MISREPRESENTING ENERGY SAVINGS
The Federal Trade Commission has charged Solar Sales, Inc., of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with falsely representing that its "transient voltage surge suppressors" would save consumers 20 percent on their electric bills and extend the life of fluores- cent light tubes by eight to ten times. A settlement to these and other charges detailed in the FTC's complaint prohibits future energy-savings claims unless the company possesses compe- tent and reliable evidence to substantiate them. A surge suppressor is an electronic device which, when connected to the electrical system of a home or business, stops transient voltage surges from traveling through the system and damaging connected electrical items such as TVs or computers. Although the surge suppressor may prevent this type of damage, it will not, according to the FTC's complaint, reduce electric bills by 20 percent, nor will it extend the life of fluorescent tubes eight to ten times.
The FTC complaint also names Rodney J. Guntherberg, presi- dent of Solar Sales, who agreed to the settlement as well. In addition to these allegedly false savings claims, the FTC charged that the defendants represented that they possessed and relied upon a reasonable basis to substantiate their claims when, according to the complaint, they did not.
The consent judgment to settle the charges prohibits the defendants, in connection with the advertising, sale or promotion of any energy conservation product, from misrepresenting that the product will reduce energy consumption, or extend the life of fluorescent light tubes or other electrical devices. In addi- tion, Solar Sales and Guntherberg are required to possess reli- able evidence to substantiate any representations that their products will save energy or extend the life of light tubes or other electrical devices.
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The settlement does not call for payment of consumer re- dress. But, if it is found that the defendants have misrepre- sented their financial condition, the settlement would allow the FTC to ask the court to reopen the case and order redress pay- ments.
The FTC's Denver Regional Office handled this case.
The FTC filed the complaint and the consent judgment to settle the charges in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division, on Jan. 15, and the judge approved the settlement on Jan. 28.
NOTE: A consent judgment is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute admission of a law violation. A consent judgment is subject to court approval and has the force of law when signed by the judge.
Copies of the complaint and proposed consent judgment are available from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY 1-866-653-4261.
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MEDIA CONTACT: Howard Shapiro, Office of Public Affairs 202-326-2176
STAFF CONTACT: Claude C. Wild, III Denver Regional Office 1405 Curtis Street, Suite 2900 Denver, Colorado 80202 303-844-2271
(Civil Action No. 93-6049)
(FTC File No. 892 3160)