FTC Charges Florida Telemarketer with Making
Multiple Misrepresentations in Sales of Water Filters
Court Issues Temporary Restraining Order
FTC News Release
August 17, 1990
The Federal Trade Commission has charged Ion Technology Systems, Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, FL, telemarketer, with making multiple misrepresentations in connection with the sale of water filters. A federal court has issued a temporary restraining order halting the misrepresentations and freezing the company's assets. Ion Technology mails postcards to consumers telling them they have won valuable awards, such as $5,000 in retail merchandise checks, vacation packages, or diamond earrings. When consumers call the company, they are given a sales pitch for a water filter unit.
The Commission's complaint charges that the company falsely represents that:
- the water filter removes 98 percent or more of the following contaminants from 10,000 or more gallons of tap water: bacteria, lead, lime, sulphur, nitrates, radon gas, acid rain, salt, iron, pesticides, herbicides, any man-made petro-chemicals, and any industrial run-off;
- the silver impregnation of the granular activated carbon in the water filter kills or eliminates bacteria in 10,000 or more gallons of water over at least a four year period;
- the company makes full refunds to purchasers of water filters or incentive merchandise who choose to return such items because they are not satisfied with them or because they are not as represented;
- the water filter is registered with, approved by, or recommended by the US Environmental Protection Agency; and
- a bill will soon be enacted by the US House of Representatives that will require every household in the US to have a water purifier.
Ion Technology also tells consumers that certain numbers appearing on the front of postcards were issued by the State of Florida to companies that have a proven record of performing their telemarketing promotions in conformity with state law. The company claims that this number is the purchasers' assurance that it is engaged in a legitimate business and that there is therefore little risk in purchasing the products. In fact, according to the complaint, the number on the postcard is the first class mailing permit and has nothing to do with any Florida law.
In addition, Ion Technology tells consumers that they have won a valuable award or prize, such as $5000 in retail merchandise checks, vacation packages, diamond watches, ruby and sapphire tennis bracelet and earrings, and catamaran sailboats. However, according to the complaint, in almost all instances, consumers actually win nothing of substantial value and must pay additional sums of money to obtain the so-called award or prize.
In addition to Ion Technology, the complaint names three officers of the company: Pamela J. Besh, also known as Pamela J. Kelly, Kevin J. Besh, and Kenneth Baer.
The FTC's Atlanta Regional Office handled the investigation.
The FTC filed its complaint in the US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division. The Commission asked the court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the defendants from making misrepresentations.
The Commission is also seeking refunds for consumers.
- Civil Action No. 90-6660 (Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division). FTC Matter No. X90-0057. FTC File No. 902-3163. FTC Docket No. C-3451.
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This page was posted on August 27, 2006.