FTC Charges Company, Owner with Deceptively Marketing Mosquito Repellent Wristbands

Complaint Also Charges Defendants with Violating Prior Commission Order

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The Federal Trade Commission has charged Lou Lentine and Viatek Consumer Products Group, Inc. (Viatek) with making deceptive, unsubstantiated claims for Mosquito Shield Bands. The complaint also alleges that the defendant and his company violated the provisions of a 2003 administrative order barring him from making deceptive claims about any product he markets.

“The defendants said that their wristbands would protect you from mosquito bites, but their claims weren’t backed up by scientific evidence,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Those claims violate the law and a 2003 FTC order against the defendants.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, Viatek has deceptively marketed Mosquito Shield Bands, which are wristbands containing mint oil that were sold directly to consumers, through distributors, or through retailers. In its marketing, Viatek claims the bands will protect or prevent users from being bitten by mosquitos, create a five-foot “vapor barrier” that protects consumers from mosquito bites, and protect users from being bitten by mosquitoes for 96-120 hours. The FTC contends, however, that the defendants did not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up these claims.

The FTC’s complaint alleges that the defendants’ unsubstantiated claims violate Section 5 of the FTC Act, as well as certain provisions of the Commission’s 2003 order.

In filing the complaint, the FTC is seeking a permanent injunction preventing the defendants from violating the FTC Act and the Commission order in the future, as well as civil penalties and funds appropriate to provide refunds to consumers.

The Commission vote authorizing the filing of the complaint was 5-0. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

NOTE: The Commission authorizes the filing of 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. The case will be decided by the court.

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.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:
Mitchell J. Katz
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2161

STAFF CONTACT:
Susan Arthur
FTC Southwest Region
214-979-9370