Under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the marketers of a fuel additive called EnviroTabs will pay $800,000 for consumer redress and are prohibited from making false, misleading, or unsubstantiated claims that EnviroTabs, when added to any type of fuel, will increase fuel efficiency, reduce emissions, and save consumers money.
According to the FTC’s complaint, Green Foot Global LLC (GFG) represented EnviroTabs as the “World’s 1st Multi-Vitamin for Your Engine!” and sold it nationwide through its website and through multi-level marketing via distributors. In English and Spanish, GFG advertised EnviroTabs as a fuel additive that drastically improves fuel mileage and significantly reduces vehicle emissions, and claimed it was scientifically proven to be effective.
The individual defendants are William C. Hyman, also known as Bill Hyman; Mary Ann P. Hyman, a/k/a Mary Ann Proulx Hyman, Mary A. Hyman, Mary P. Hyman, Mary Ann Proulx, MaryAnn Denise L. Proulx, Mary Ann Prouleaux, Mary P. Proulx Hyman, Mary Ann A. Hyman, and Mary Hyman; Ralph M. Flynn Jr., a/k/a Ralph Flynn; Martinez Van Turner, a/k/a Martinez V. Turner, Marty Turnberg, and Marty Turner; and Patrick Hintze, a/k/a Pat Hintze. The corporate defendant is Green Foot Global LLC, also doing business as Green Foot Global, Greenfoot Global, GFG, GFG Commercial, GFG Industrial, GreenFootGlobal.com, GFG Fuel Tech LLC, and GWO Network.
In addition to the $800,000 judgment, the settlement prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting tests or studies about any product or service, and bars them from making claims about any product without having competent and reliable scientific evidence. For example, the defendants may not claim that any product saves fuel; increases motor vehicle fuel economy or decreases fuel consumption rates; reduces emissions; helps a vehicle pass an emissions inspection; saves money on fuel, maintenance or repairs; is environmentally friendly, “green” or “eco-friendly;” has any environmental benefit; removes engine carbon deposits; or extends oil or engine life.
The settlement also bars the defendants from selling or otherwise benefitting from consumers’ personal information and from failing to properly dispose of customer information after providing the information to the FTC so that the agency can return money to defendants’ customers.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint and approving the proposed consent judgments was 4-0. The judgment against Flynn, Turner and Hintze was entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada on November 18, 2013. The order against GFG, William C. Hyman and Mary Ann P. Hyman was entered by the court on November 19, 2013.
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. Consent judgments have the force of law when approved and signed by the District Court judge.
The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
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