Mail-Order Company That Sells Children's Products
Agrees to Settle FTC Charges

FTC News Release
March 31, 1993

The Right Start, Inc., a Thousand Oaks, CA-based mail-order company, and its president, Stanley M. Fridstein, have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they ran false and unsubstantiated advertising claims in their catalog regarding both an air filter and a children's tray for use in automobiles. The proposed settlement agreement would prohibit the respondents from making such false and unsubstantiated advertising claims in the future.

The Right Start sells infant and children's products through its mail-order catalog and one retail outlet store. According to the FTC, The Right Start violated the Federal Trade Commission Act by making deceptive advertising claims for two of the products advertised in its catalog — the "Air Purifier," a small electric air filter, and the "Travel Tray," a foam board tray that is used to hold children's snacks and toys when they are riding in an automobile.

The FTC's complaint detailing the charges alleges that The Right Start falsely represented, among other things, that use of the Air Purifier can significantly reduce a child's risk of bacterial infections, and that the negative ions emitted by the Air Purifier alleviate respiratory problems. The complaint also alleges that The Right Start had no substantiation for these claims, and that the implication that it did is false. The FTC also charged The Right Start with falsely representing that the Air Purifier was recommended by Good Housekeeping magazine as an effective product for removing allergens from the air.

With regard to the Travel Tray, the FTC challenged as false the catalog's claim that the tray had been evaluated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and found to be safe for use in automobiles for children 18 months and older. In fact, the FTC alleged, the Travel Tray had not been evaluated by the CPSC and found to be safe for use in automobiles for children 18 months and older.

Under the proposed settlement agreement, announced today for public comment, The Right Start would be prohibited from, among other things, representing that use of any air filtering device can reduce the risk of bacterial infection or alleviate, prevent or cure respiratory problems unless such results can be substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence.

The proposed order also would prohibit The Right Start from representing that any product has been approved or endorsed by an expert individual or organization unless the endorsement is supported by an objective and valid evaluation or test of the product conducted by persons qualified to do so.

The Commission vote to accept the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0. The FTC's Chicago Regional Office handled the case.

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