Chattanooga, Tennessee - Viatek Consumer Products Group, Inc. and company owner and President Lou Lentine have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made deceptive claims for Viatek-brand Mosquito Shield Bands. The Commission also charged Lentine and Viatek with violating a 2003 administrative order prohibiting Lentine from making product claims without competent and reliable evidence to back them up.
“With Zika virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses in the news, consumers might be looking for products that protect them from mosquitos,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The defendants took advantage of those concerns, and peddled a product without having scientific support that it effectively prevented mosquito bites.”
According to the FTC’s February 2015 complaint, Lentine and Viatek marketed Mosquito Shield Bands, wristbands containing mint oil, directly to consumers and through retailers, including the home shopping channel HSN and claimed the wristbands would protect users from being bitten by mosquitos.
The defendants represented that the wristbands create a “vapor barrier” that shields persons within five feet of the product from being bitten and provides users with 96-120 hours of protection. The FTC alleged 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 order settling the FTC’s charges 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 $300,000 to the Commission.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the proposed stipulated final judgment and order was 3-0. The judgment and order were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Chattanooga.