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May 24, 2016

FTC Announces Settlement Barring Company From Making Misleading Pest-Control Claims

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on May 24, 2016, that Viatek Consumer Products Group, Inc. and Company owner and President Lou Lentine have agreed to settle FTC charges that they made deceptive claims for Viatek-brand Mosquito Shield Bands. FTC also charged Lentine and Viatek with violating a 2003 administrative order prohibiting Lentine from making product claims without “competent and reliable” evidence to support them. According to the FTC’s February 2015 complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, Lentine and Viatek marketed Mosquito Shield Bands, wristbands containing mint oil, claiming the wristbands would protect users from being bitten by mosquitoes. The defendants represented that the wristbands would create a five-foot “vapor barrier,” shielding persons from being bitten, and would provide users with 96-120 hours of protection. FTC stated that the defendants did not have competent and reliable scientific evidence to back up these claims, and that in making them, the defendants violated the FTC Act and the 2003 FTC order. The proposed settlement requires the defendants to have competent and reliable scientific evidence for future claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any pest control product, and to have appropriate substantiation for similar claims made about any product they sell. It also prohibits the defendants from violating the 2003 FTC order and requires them to pay a $300,000 judgment.