Catalog Marketer Agrees to Settle FTC Charges
That It Allegedly Made Deceptive Claims
FTC News Release
May 11, 1994
Lifestyle Fascination, Inc., and two of its officers have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they made false and unsubstantiated claims for five products marketed through their "Lifestyle Fascination" catalog. Under the settlement, Lifestyle Fascination, Inc., its president, and its general manager would be prohibited from making the alleged false claims, and would be required to rely upon competent and reliable evidence to substantiate any performance, safety or efficacy claims they make in connection with any consumer electric or electronic product they sell in the future.
The FTC complaint detailing the charges in the case names Lifestyle Fascination, based in Jackson, NJ; president Eli Zabare; and general manager Simon Pantierer. According to the complaint, the respondents made the following allegedly deceptive representations in their catalog:
- "Fuelon" a fuel additive, improves gas mileage by 15 to 40 percent and ensures cars will pass government emissions inspections (according to the complaint, these claims are false);
- the "Vitalizer," an automobile retrofit device, has been proven to increase gas mileage by up to 23 percent and to reduce exhaust emissions by up to 90 percent (according to the complaint, these claims are false);
- scientific studies prove that the "Brain Tuner," an electro-stimulation device, increases one's IQ by 20 to 30 points, reduces depression and cravings for drugs and alcohol, boosts energy and concentration, controls pain, and improves memory, among other things (according to the complaint, none of these statements were true);
- the "Rhythm" electronic acupuncture device relieves muscle, digestive and nervous ailments, tones muscles, promotes weight loss by reducing cravings for sugar and other high-calorie foods, and relieves aches, pain, fatigue and insomnia (according to the complaint, the respondents lacked substantiation for these claims); and
- the "Aerobic Eye Exercise Glasses," eyeglasses with multiple pinholes in the lenses, are an adequate substitute for prescription glasses or contacts, and improve vision long-term (according to the complaint, neither claim was true). Ads for this product also included an allegedly deceptive consumer testimonial, purportedly representative of the typical experience of consumers who use the glasses.
The proposed consent agreement to settle these charges would prohibit the respondents from making the specifically challenged false claims for the relevant products, or for products that are substantially similar to them, in the future. Further, the proposed order would require the respondents to possess competent and reliable evidence supporting any future claims they make about the performance, safety, attributes, benefits or efficacy of the electric or electronic products they market (televisions, VCRs, compact disc players, vacuums and certain other items are exempted from this provision of the order). Health-related claims made by the respondents for any product they market in the future also would have to be backed up by scientific substantiation under the settlement. The respondents would also have to possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate claims about gas-savings for any fuel-economy product. In addition, where the results of tests are used with representations of fuel economy improvement expressed in miles per gallon or representations of fuel economy are expressed as a monetary savings, the respondents must disclose this disclaimer: "REMINDER: Your actual saving may vary. It depends on the kind of driving you do, how you drive, and the condition of your car."
The proposed order also would prohibit the respondents, in future advertising for health-related products, from misrepresenting that any endorsement or testimonial represents the typical or ordinary experiences of users. In addition, the respondents would be prohibited from misrepresenting the existence or results of any test or study.
Finally, the proposed order contains various reporting requirements designed to assist the FTC in monitoring the respondents' compliance.
The Commission vote to announce the proposed consent agreement for public comment was 5-0.
- FTC File No. 912-3123. FTC Docket No. C-3513.
This page was posted on August 27, 2006.