The FTC has announced that it has filed a complaint against Lou Lentine and Viatek Consumer Products Group, Inc., alleging the company made deceptive and unsubstantiated claims as it relates to its Mosquito Shield Bands. The complaint also alleges that Lentine and his company violated a 2003 FTC order, which previously barred Lentine from making deceptive claims about any of his products. The FTC is seeking money for civil penalties and to provide refunds to customers. It also calls for a permanent injunction against the defendants from violating federal trade laws.
According to the FTC, Lentine and Viatek “do not possess, and did not possess at the time they made the representations, competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate” their claims that the bands will protect or prevent users from being bitten by mosquitos. Lentine and Viatek claim that their bands, which can be bought in a ten-pack at Wal-Mart or Home Depot, 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 defendants said that their wristbands would protect you from mosquito bites, but their claims weren’t backed up by scientific evidence,” Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “Those claims violate the law and a 2003 FTC order against the defendants.”
As noted, this isn’t the first time Lentine and Viatek have been in trouble with the FTC. In 2003, the FTC issued an order forbidding a Viatek predecessor from making deceptive and unsubstantiated claims regarding a device that was marketed to keep insects, mice and rats away using electromagnetic waves. However, according to the FTC, Lentine and Viatek violated Part V of the 2003 FTC order by making claims that were not substantiated by reliable scientific evidence. Lentine and Viatek haven’t yet responded to the suit, and it will be interesting to see if Lentine and Viatek can produce scientific evidence to back their claims and repel the FTC’s suit.