Nationwide Syndications, Inc., of Barrington, Illinois, and company president Thomas W. Karon, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false and unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits of their NightSafe Glasses, which purportedly make night driving safer by improving night vision. According to the FTC, the company had no reliable evidence to support the claims that wearing NightSafe glasses would improve vision while driving at night. Under the terms of a proposed settlement of the charges, the company would be prohibited from representing that NightSafe Glasses make driving at night safer and would be prohibited from using the name "NightSafe," or any other name that would imply that such a product makes night driving safe or safer. In addition, the respondents Nationwide and Karon, have agreed to pay $125,000 in consumer redress and have agreed to provide to the FTC the names of consumers who purchased NightSafe glasses so that the FTC may provide them with a notice that wearing the NightSafe glasses while driving at night may, in fact, be unsafe.
Nationwide Syndications advertised and marketed the NightSafe glasses to consumers across the United States in brochures that accompany consumers’ credit card statements. According to the FTC’s complaint detailing the allegations, the advertisements and product labeling contained such statements as:
- "DRIVE SAFER AT NIGHT, IN RAIN, SNOW, SLEET, EVEN FOG. Order Your NightSafe Glasses Today!;
- "WITH NightSafe Glasses your night vision actually improves!...; and
- "...Laboratory tested and proven NightSafe Glasses really work. The innovative UV400 lenses block harmful ultraviolet rays and cut through dense haze....NightSafe helps improve your night vision."
The FTC’s complaint alleges that these claims were false and misleading because NightSafe Glasses do not make night driving safer, do not improve night vision and laboratory tests do not prove that NightSafe Glasses improve night vision. The complaint also alleges that the respondents did not possess and rely upon a reasonable basis to substantiate the claims.
The proposed consent agreement to settle these allegations would prohibit the respondents from representing that NightSafe Glasses, or any substantially similar product, makes driving safer and improves night vision. In addition, the respondents would be prohibited from making claims about the efficacy, performance, benefits or safety of NightSafe Glasses or any substantially similar product, unless they possess and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the claims. Further, the respondents would be prohibited from using the trade name "NightSafe," or any other trade name that implies that the use of such a product would make night driving safer.
Additionally, the respondents have agreed to pay consumer redress in the amount of $125,000, and also have agreed to provide to the FTC the names and addresses of each consumer who purchased NightSafe Glasses so that the FTC may provide those consumers with a safety notice regarding the use of NightSafe Glasses while driving at night.
The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for comment was 5-0. The FTC’s Chicago Regional Office handled this case.
An analysis of the proposed consent agreement will be published in the Federal Register shortly and will be subject to public comment for 60 days, after which the Commission will decide whether to make it final. Comments should be addressed to the FTC, Office of the Secretary, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
NOTE: A consent agreement is for settlement purposes only and does not constitute an admission of a law violation. When the Commission issues a consent order on a final basis, it carries the force of law with respect to future actions. Each violation of such an order may result in a civil penalty of $11,000.
Copies of the complaint and proposed consent agreement, and an analysis of the agreement to aid in public comment, are available on the Internet at the FTC’s World Wide Site at http://www.ftc.gov or by calling 202-326-3627. FTC documents are also 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 for the hearing impaired 202- 326-2502. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.
(FTC File No. 952 3041)
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