The Federal Trade Commission said that it reached a settlement with two companies marketing unproven remedies for bed bugs and lice over deceptive advertising.
The commission filed charges last year against Dave Glassel and the companies he controlled, including Chemical Free Solutions LLC, alleging that they made overhyped claims that their “BEST Yet!” line of cedar-oil based liquid products would treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations.
According to the FTC, they claimed that BEST Yet! products were invented for the U.S. Army and that their bed bug product was acknowledged by the U.S.D.A. as the top choice of bio-based pesticides, and that the Environmental Protection Agency had warned consumers to avoid chemical solutions for treating bed bug infestations.
Attempts to reach Glassel directly were unsuccessful; his attorney in the FTC case did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Under the agreement, the marketers can no longer make claims that the products by themselves can stop or prevent a bed bug infestation, or are more effective at doing so than other products, unless they have competent and scientific evidence to make the claims.
They also are barred from claiming that their products can effectively treat head lice infestations, unless those claims are non-misleading and they obtain FDA approval prior to making those claims.
In addition, they are prohibited from misrepresenting the results of scientific tests or studies, and from claiming that a product or service they sell is endorsed by a government agency or by any other third-party entity when it is not.
The settlement orders also impose a $4.6 million judgment against Glassel, who is facing bankruptcy, and a $185,206 judgment against Chemical Free Solutions LLC, which will be suspended due to the company’s inability to pay.
The FTC said in a statement that if it later determines that the company gave false financial information, the full judgment amount will become due immediately.
The agency said it will continue to pursue its case against the remaining three defendants: Springtech LLC, Cedar Oil Technologies Corp. and Cedarcide Industries Inc.