Chemical Free Solutions LLC (CFS), the seller of Cedarcide Original, a line of cedar oil-based products deceptively marketed as effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations, has settled Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated a 2013 order barring it from making scientifically unsupported product claims. Under the modified court order, CFS admits it violated the 2013 order, is banned from selling bed bug eradication products, and will pay $224,356 for consumer refunds.
According to the Commission’s September 2012 complaint, CFS falsely claimed that its natural, BEST Yet! bed bug and head lice products were invented for the U.S. Army, that BEST Yet! was acknowledged by the USDA as the #1 choice of bio-based pesticides, and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had warned consumers to avoid all synthetic and chemical pesticides for treating bed bug infestations.
CFS agreed to a consent order settling the FTC’s charges in July 2013, which prohibited the company from claiming that BEST Yet! or any of their pesticides by themselves can stop bed bug infestations, that they are effective at preventing bed bug infestations, that they are more effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations than other products, or about the performance or efficacy of their products, unless the representation is non-misleading, and the defendants already have and rely upon competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the claims.
The proposed modified final order against CFS contains both injunctive and monetary relief. First, it permanently bans the company from advertising, marketing, promoting, selling or helping anyone else market, promote, or sell any product claiming to kill bed bugs. It also prohibits CFS and anyone the company works with from making any deceptive claims about the performance or efficacy of any pesticide product, unless such statements are not misleading and are supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence when they are made.
The order also requires CFS to pay $224,356 in compensatory contempt relief to the FTC. The remaining order provisions maintain the monetary and injunctive relief from the 2013 order and restart the timing of the compliance monitoring provisions.
The Commission has also filed a contempt motion against defendant David Glassel, who previously controlled CFS, and settled FTC charges in a consent order mirroring the company’s. The FTC is seeking similar injunctive relief against defendant Glassel as that obtained against CFS, including a ban on advertising, marketing, promoting, selling or helping anyone else market, promote, or sell any product claiming to kill bed bugs, as well as compensatory contempt relief.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to approve the filing of a stipulated modified order for permanent injunction, monetary judgment, and compensatory contempt relief as to defendant Chemical Free Solutions LLC was 2-0. The vote to file a contempt motion against defendant Glassel also was 2-0. The FTC filed the documents in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division.
NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has “reason to believe” that the law has been or is being violated and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. Stipulated final injunctions/orders have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
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