Law and Orders

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Once you’re subject to an FTC order, if you do not comply with its provisions, there are consequences in addition to any you face for deceptive or misleading practices.  Violation of an order can pave the way for civil penalties. This week, the Commission filed a complaint against Lou Lentine, the president and owner of Viatek Consumer Products Group, charging him and his company with making unsubstantiated representations about their insect repellent product – even though Lentine is under order in a previous FTC case.

Lentine’s company, Viatek, marketed Mosquito Shield Bands (also called Mosquito Bands and Bug Repellant Bands) on its website and through distributors and retailers, including HSN.  Viatek’s promotional materials claimed that the bands, which could be worn on the wrist, ankle, or belt, and hung on strollers or walkers, would create a five-foot “vapor barrier” or “cocoon of protection” that protected the wearer for 96 to 120 hours. The FTC charged that Lentine and Viatek didn’t have evidence to support these claims.

But here’s the thing: this is not the first time the FTC has charged Lentine with lacking adequate evidence to back up claims about the products he’s selling. Because of his earlier failure to substantiate what his marketing touted, the FTC sued Lentine back in the day.  Since 2003, he’s been subject to an FTC order that requires him to have “competent and reliable scientific evidence” to back up claims for his products.  In the current case, the Commission alleges that Lentine and Viatek are in violation of the FTC Act and the 2003 order and seeks redress for consumers as well as civil penalties for violating the order. 

Not to be a pest, but here’s a reminder:  failure to comply with an order can lead to the sting of civil penalties.

Comments

I would lie to see them go after them for not honoring warranties AT ALL. Purchased an excercise bike through HSN and have been trying to deal with ZVIATEK about the faulty display box. Month of February spent calling their toll free number that they NEVER answered and do not respond to voicemails. Found an alternate number in March as well as HSN supplying me with an email address. They don’t respond to email, and the girl lied to me saying they would send me a replacement bike and I could keep both. When I mentioned she was being recorded as my proof, she said she would let her supervisor handle the call to complete it, but took my address stating I was still getting the replacement bike that was another model, because the FitQuest I had was so new that they don’t have parts for it??? She placed me on hold and came back later on the line saying the supervisor would call me “right back”. 2 hours later no supervisor, I called backed and spoke to Pearson. He told different story about why the part wasn’t being replaced. Said supervisor was in meeting, but would call me by the end of business day without even asking my name. End of day came and went and no call. Got o Rip off report and type in Viatek on search for my detailed report as well as reports of others. Pearson says there are only Sonja and himself working in the customer care center because everyone was fired. Pearson and Sonja have a supervisor for 2 people. Pearson says the reason they haven’t returned their calls on the toll free line yet is because there are only the two of them and they are backlogged (a month?) yet when I call the alternate number they pick up immediately. Pearson says that the reason they haven’t sent out parts is because they only have one guy working at the warehouse because they fired everyone, but you can’t send out replacement parts if you don’t answer your calls or return voicemails to know that people need parts can you? You get a 1 year warranty is a part of the sales pitch with HSN for this bike. My phone bill will show me phoning this companies toll free number over and over again in February. My call recordings (I live in Oklahoma and can record my calls) will show Sonja being so shady with no intentions of doing anything. How do I start something to deal with this company?

You can report a problem you're having with a company to the FTC. Go to www.FTC.gov/Complaint and give details. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other government agencies use for investigations. You can also contact your state Attorney General.

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