Tag Archives: False advertising

Class Action Investigation: Are Bell + Howell Tactical Flashlights as Powerful as Claimed?

Some consumers have questioned brightness and visibility claims made in connection with the marketing of Bell and Howell “tactical” flashlights.

The flashlights are priced around $20.00, are made in China, and are powered with three AAA batteries. The claims made about the power of the Bell & Howell tactical flashlights on Amazon and HSN are impressive:

  • “22x brighter than your regular flashlight”
  • “2 nautical mile visibility”
  • “Up to 40 times brighter than standard incandescent flashlights”
  • “can be seen 5 nautical miles away”

flashlight

If Bell + Howell’s claims exaggerate the power of their tactical flashlights, these flashlights may be falsely advertised.

If you purchased a Bell and Howell tactical flashlight, we are interested in hearing from you.

 

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Class Action Investigation: Stun Gun Voltage Claims

Some consumers have questioned voltage claims made in connection with the marketing of various stun guns.

For example, does the “Vipertek VTS-989 – 230,000,000 V Heavy Duty Stun Gun” produce a 230 million volt charge – or does he Vipertek VTS-881 – 38,000,000 V Micro Stun Gun produce 38 million volts?

This youtube video shows a 7.5 million volt stun gun not doing much.

The youtube video below from the funny pair at Good Mythical Morning showcases a “1 million volt” stun gun.

If you have purchased a stun gun based upon high voltage claims, you are welcome to contact us about this investigation.

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Class Action Investigation: Garnier Fructis Fortifying Shampoo 10x Stronger Claims

Some consumers have questioned the accuracy of marketing claims made by Garnier regarding its “Fructis Fortifying Shampoo.”

“Fortifying” means to “make stronger.” Is it really possible to make hair stronger with shampoo? What about ten times stronger? Is there a special “active fruit concentrate” that can perform this miraculous feat?

Garnier wants consumers to think that its Fructis shampoo will make your hair 10X stronger.

Their Fructis Fortifying Shampoo makes bold claims including:

  • “Every inch 10X STRONGER”
  • “Fortifying daily hair care with a Powerdoes of Active Fruit Concentrate & Ceramide renews hair’s strength to bring life back to every inch: stronger, healther & shinier.”

fructis

Articles about questionable hair strengthening claims

 

 

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Under Investigation: Inauthentic “Maple” Food Products

WHEN IS USING THE WORD MAPLE FALSE ADVERTISINGIf you have purchased any food product that contains the word “maple” and the ingredients do not list maple syrup or maple sugar, you may you have a false advertising claim, and you are encouraged to contact this office.

Some consumers have questioned whether certain products, such as Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar and Cream of Wheat Maple Brown Sugar instant oatmeal actually contain any maple syrup. To maple syrup producers and consumers alike, there are important differences between artificial maple and the real thing.

In February of 2016, the Vermont Maple Sugar Maker’s Association (VMSMA) sent a letter asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action against certain companies. In the letterPDF VMSMA informed FDA:

“Maple syrup, a premium ingredient, plainly has a material bearing on the price and/or consumer acceptance of food products that contain it, which is why it is frequently an ingredient named in the title of foods or displayed on its packaging. Thus, if a product name includes “maple,” or its packaging emphasizes the presence of maple (e.g., through vignettes of maple syrup, leaves, and trees), but the product does not actually contain any maple syrup, it is unlawfully misbranded under this regulation 21 CFR § 102.5].” (VMSMA Letter to FDA, 2/15/16)…The following products are examples misbranding [sic] under 21 CFR § 102.5:

  • MOM Brands’ Better Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal with Flax,
  • Madhava Natural Sweeteners Maple Agave Nectar,
  • Honey Stinger Organic Maple Waffle,
  • Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal,
  • Quaker Oats Maple & Brown Sugar High Fiber Instant Oatmeal,
  • GU Maple Bacon Energy Gel, Quaker Oats Maple Pecan Raisin Flavored Oatmeal,
  • Hood Ice Cream Maple Walnut. (VMSMA Letter to FDA, 2/15/16).

On March 10, 2016, twenty-four lawmakers signed a letter urging the FDA to investigate false maple claims. The letter PDF stated in part:

“Maple syrup is a pure product, made 100 percent by concentrating the sap of maple trees. Pure maple syrup production (sugaring) provides income to an estimated 10,000 maple producers across 10 states in the Northwest and Upper Midwest, including Vermont, New York, Maine, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The United States produced 3.4 million gallons of maple syrup in 2015, worth approximately $100 million dollars. For some, sugaring is full-time work, while others tap trees to supplement their income, providing an important source of earnings for many rural families.”

Two days earlier, the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association wrote a letter PDF to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, asking her office to investigate violators of the Massachusetts Maple Law.

The letter states in part:

“A number of Massachusetts-based companies are in violation of the law as well, such asWilbraham-based Friendly’s, with their Maple Walnut ice cream. Dunkin’ Donuts, with their headquarters in Canton, has eight varieties of baked goods labeled as maple, and none of them have any maple syrup or maple sugar listed in their ingredients. Honey Dew Donuts, based in Plainville, has a Maple Cream Coffee listing, which also contains no maple syrup. Lynfield’s Hood Ice Cream also sells a Maple Walnut flavor with no maple syrup listed as an ingredient.”

To date, the FDA has not launched any maple-related enforcement actions, despite repeated urgings to do so. And, the Massachusetts Attorney General has also declined to take action.

Government inaction is inexcusable here, because inauthentic maple products present  a real economic injury to farmers and consumers.  The lack of  action by states with strict labelling laws concerning the use of the word “maple” on food products sends the message that flouting maple laws is permissible.

What are the laws on false advertising and Maple?

There are a number of state laws governing advertisement concerning maple products. For example, there is the Massachusetts Maple Law:

No person shall manufacture, label, package, sell, keep for sale, expose or offer for sale any food article or food product branded as maple, maple syrup, maple candy, maple creams, maple butter, or maple sugar which is not made from pure maple syrup derived from the sap of the maple tree. Any compound or mixture branded or labelled as maple, maple syrup, maple candy, maple creams, maple butter or maple sugar, or branded as an imitation thereof, which consists of maple syrup mixed with any other substances or ingredients shall have printed on the package containing such compound or mixture a statement of the ingredients of which it is made, all said ingredients to be set forth in the same size type as the words “maple syrup”.

The use of the words “maple” or “maple syrup”, shall not be used in the labelling or branding of any food product which does not contain any maple syrup in its ingredients. M.G.L. ch. 128, § 36C.

Vermont’s Maple Law:

All maple flavored products shall be clearly labeled on their principal display panel or panels in a manner which will alert the purchaser to the fact that the product is not a 100 percent pure maple product, in accordance with the Act and other applicable statutes and regulations, such as CP 120.

Artificial maple flavored products shall be clearly and conspicuously labeled on their principal display panel or panels with the term “artificial flavor” shall be of a size equal to, or larger than, other words used to describe the product. It is unlawful to use the terms “maple syrup” or “maple sugar,” however modified, to describe an artificially flavored product.

No person shall advertise any maple syrup, maple product, maple flavored product, or artificial maple flavored product in any manner which is untruthful, unfair, or deceptive. CVR 20-011-002 (2013)

Examples of Questionable “Maple” Products

Below is a photograph of a Quaker Maple instant cereal box:

image001

Other products that use the word “maple” in product descriptions may be in violation of the Massachusetts Maple Law:

For instance, there is Madhava’s maple flavored agave product line, and Stop & Shop has a whole line of questionable “Bacon Maple” products,

maple and bacon

such as Maple Bacon Gelato,

maple bacon gelato

Maple Cream Craft Brewed Soda,

Maple cream soda

and Blueberry Caramel Maple Ice Cream.

caramel maple

And, Walmart sells a product called Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Maple Brown Sugar Whole Grain Cereal.

Maple mini wheat

CVS sells an instant hot cereal that may be a bogus maple product:

20160726_170112

Examples of Real Maple Products

Obviously, there are many products that have the right to claim “maple” because they are bona fide maple goods.

For example, Green Mountain Creamery Maple Greek Yogurt (ingredients pictured below) actually contains maple syrup. It is a premium, high value food item.

20160404_135630

The History of Maple-Related “Food Fraud”

“Food fraud” is a type of false advertising in which the seller misrepresents the nature, quality, or character of the food product being sold. An egregious example of food fraud would be selling horsemeat labelled as beef.

There have been a number of notable maple-related food fraud cases in the past. For example, McDonald’s found itself in trouble with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets in 2011.

The Quaker Maple Case

VMSMA’s letter to FDA and the news coverage that followed inspired a class action lawsuit against Quaker Oats, Eisenlord v. The Quaker Oats Company, et al, filed in California on March 1, 2016.

The Hostess “Maple Glazed” Mini Donuts Case

On May 23, 2016, this office, with co-counsel from California, New York, and Boston, started a new maple-related class action. The VanCleave v. Hostess Complaint alleges that Hostesses’ miniature maple glazed donuts or “donettes” do not contain any maple syrup or maple sugar and are therefore misbranded under state and federal law.

Vancleave v. Hostess

Related Articles

Related Laws and Regulations

 

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Is Dial “Pheremone Infused Attraction Enhancing Body Wash” Falsely Advertised?

If you have purchased Dial for Men Magnetic Attraction Enhancing Body Wash and found that it did not live up to product claims, you are welcome to contact this office. 

__________________________________________________

Some consumers have complained that Dial for Men Magnetic Attraction Enhancing Body Wash contains misleading claims.

A body wash claming that it is “Attraction Enhancing” is “PHEREMONE INFUSED,” and contains a “fragrance proven to attract,” is a product that could attract the attention of male consumers.

The question is, are these “attracting enhancing” claims supported by valid scientific research?

One behavioral neuropsychologist disputes the claims, calling them “Hogwash.” He states: “humans don’t have a functioning vomeronasal organ,” and “[t]he few studies of androstadienone that do show an effect have been small and poorly designed, and use concentrations of the compound  that are as much as a million times higher than what occurs naturally. And women might have higher natural levels of androstadienone than men.”

He also indicates there has “been a lot of misconception about what human pheromones do. . .We want to raise a flag and say, where’s the evidence? How human pheromones work is still totally questionable.”

Discover magazine concludes “Body washes, cosmetics, perfumes, and more all boast of their pheromone contents. There’s just one problem: There is no scientific evidence that people produce or respond to pheromones at all, or that dabbing them on will make you more attractive to potential mates.”

IMG_20160208_145909       IMG_20160208_145858

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lierac Body-Slim Class Action Investigation

We are investigating Ales Group, U.S.A., Inc.’s  Lierac Body-Slim products.  The issue is whether Ales has made false representations to deceive women into believing that by simply applying expensive creams and serums, they can obtain relief from “cellulite.”

FREE CONFIDENTIAL CASE EVALUATION – LIERAC ANTI-CELLULITE 

“‘Cellulite’ is a word first coined in France sometime around 1920 to describe the dimpled, uneven appearance of skin caused by the distribution of subcutaneous fat, particularly around the hips, thighs, and posterior of women. Primed by unrelenting pressure to appear youthful and attractive, women have been presented with “anti-cellulite” products in recent years.

Ales has marketed anti-cellulite products by presenting idealized, possibly photo-shopped images of young models in association with their “body slim” line of skin products, and by promoting the idea that the normal human imperfection of cellulite can be fixed by applying consumer goods.

Ales has made claims that its products work against “unwanted bodily curves.” Ales has made, and continues to make claims and promises to consumers about the efficacy of its Lierac Paris Body-Slim line of cellulite products, (collectively “Lierac Body-Slim” or “Lierac Body-Slim Cellulite Products”).

Do Lierac Body-Slim Cellulite products live up to advertised claims?

For example, one in-store display claims, “You’re only 2 weeks from a firmer, smoother body.”Body Slim Ad

Is the premise that there are slimming or cellulite-banishing effects available through the application of any cream, ointment, supported by credible scientific evidence?

According to our research, there is a long line of peer-reviewed scholarly articles, and credible medical opinions revealing the ineffective and useless nature of anti-cellulite creams.

Is there a product on earth that by mere application to human skin, can bring about a “firmer, smoother body,” “[h]elp[] correct the appearance of all visible signs of stubborn cellulite,” or live up to various other claims made by Ales to promote its Lierac Body-Slim Cellulite Products?

Molly Wanner, MD, MBA, and Mathew Avram, MD, JD, both of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, after carefully studying cellulite, its causes, and attempts at stopping it, have published their conclusion that cellulite is a normal condition affecting virtually all women, for which there is no effective remedy to be found on the shelves of a drug store:

“Cellulite is the characteristic, nonpathologic appearance of dimpled, ‘cottage cheese-like’ skin surface change typically seen in women on the thighs and buttocks. It is commonly seen on the abdomen, breasts, and arms. Given that the occurrence of cellulite is nearly universal in post-pubertal females, it is thought of as a female secondary sex characteristic. Nevertheless, it can be a distressing condition and patients spend billions of dollars on treatments that are largely ineffective.”[1]

Facts Relating to Ales’ Body-Slim Anti-Cellulite Claims

Ales markets a line of anti-cellulite products through its Lierac “Body-Slim” brand. There are at least seven products in this line:

Lierac Body-Slim Multi-Action Concentrate

Lierac Body-Slim Stomach and Waist

Lierac Body-Slim Stubborn Areas

Lierac Body-Slim Destock Night

Lierac Body-Slim Oil

Lierac Body-Slim Triple Action

Lierac Body-Slim Day and Night Duo

Each of these products specifically promises, by statements on its packaging, to reduce the appearance of cellulite and/or have a slimming effect on the user. In particular, the product packaging contains the following statements:

Lierac Body-Slim Multi-Action Concentrate packaging

 BODY-SLIM

MULTI-ACTION CONCENTRATE

COMPLETE BODY CONTOURING

. . . .

Helps correct the appearance of

all visible signs of stubborn cellulite:

dimpled skin, loss of firmness,

excess water retention

improves skin quality

. . . .

Visible results in just 14 days*

-Reduction in the appearance of cellulite

and orange peel skin 100%**

-Refining effect on thighs and hips 96%**

-Firmer skin 93%**

Study conducted with 29 women

*Clinical study with instrumental measurements recorded after 14 days –

**Self-assessment after 56 days

Lierac Body-Slim Stomach and Waist packaging (Exhibit 2)

BODY-SLIM

STOMACH & WAIST

MULTI –ACTION CONCENTRATE

AGAINST UNWANTED ABDOMINAL CURVES

.   .   .   .  

“Flat stomach” effect

Helps refine the waist

Firms and tightens the skin

Firms the skin

Helps reduce excess water

.   .   .   .  

Visible results in just 14 days.

After 28 days:

– Reduction in the appearance of

abdominal fat 91%*

(average reduction of abdomen

circumference: 3.34 cm** and of

waist circumference: 1.46 cm**)

– firmed skin 97%*

Study conducted with 34 women

*Self-assessment after 28 days

**Clinical study with instrumental measurements after 28 days

 Lierac Body-Slim Stubborn Areas packaging: (Exhibit 3)

BODY-SLIM

STUBBORN AREAS

SLACKENED & STUBBORN AREAS – FIRMING

LIFTING SERUM AGAINST EMBEDDED CELLULITE

.   .   .   .

Firming Lifting Serum Against Embedded Cellulite

Helps Firm and Shape Inner Arms & Thighs

Reduces the Appearance of Cellulite in Stubborn Areas

.   .   .   .  

RESULTS IN JUST 14 DAYS

Improved tone on inner arms: 85%* and thighs: 90%*

Reduction in the appearance of stubborn cellulite: 77%**

Lifted skin: 83%***

*Study conducted with 19 volunteers after 28 days of use – % of subjects improved

Study conducted on the active ingredient

**Self-assessment after 14 days conducted with 48 volunteers

***Self-assessment after 28 days conducted with 52 volunteers

Lierac Body-Slim Destock Night packaging: (Exhibit 4)

BODY-SLIM

DESTOCK NIGHT

NIGHT-TIME BODY CONTOURING

INTENSIVE CONCENTRATE

.   .   .   .  

Helps fight the appearance of

stubborn cellulite while you sleep

Helps release stored fat

Helps reduce fat storage

.   .   .   .  

9 out of 10 WOMEN[1]

“DIMPLED SKIN” IS SMOOTHED:

IMPROVEMENT IN SKIN PROFILE

MEASURED EFFECTIVENESS AFTER JUST 14 DAYS[2]

[1]Self-assessment by 29 women after 28 days

[2]Clinical study with instrumental measurement conducted

among 31 women

Lierac Body-Slim Oil packaging: (Exhibit 5)

BODY-SLIM

DRAINAGE

DRAINAGE-ENHANCING

BI-PHASE OIL

AGAINST “DIMPLED SKIN”

.   .   .   .  

Smoothes the appearance

of “dimpled skin”

Helps fight excess

water retention

.   .   .   .  

96%* ANTI-CELLULITE EFFECT

MEASURED EFFECTIVENESS AFTER JUST 14 DAYS

*Thighs – Self-assessment after 14 days –

Study conducted with 28 women

Lierac Body-Slim Triple Action packaging (Exhibit 6)

BODY-SLIM

TRIPLE ACTION

SMOOTHING

BODY-CONTOURING

CONCENTRATE

.   .   .   .  

Smoothes the appearance

of “dimpled skin”

Firms the skin

Helps reduce excess water

.   .   .   .  

96%* BODY CONTOURING EFFECT ON THIGHS AND

MEASURED EFFECTIVENESS AFTER JUST 14 DAYS

*Self-assessment after 56 days

Lierac Body-Slim Day and Night Duo is two-pack package containing Body-Slim Multi-Action Concentrate and Body-Slim Destock Night. In addition to the representations on the individual boxes, as previously detailed, Lierac Body-Slim Day and Night Duo packaging (Exhibit 7) claims:

BODY-SLIM DAY & NIGHT DUO

24 HOUR INTENSIVE TREATMENT

. . . .

Firming and shaping formulas to help reduce the appearance of cellulite

and dimpled skin night and day

Lierac Body-Slim Slackened & Stubborn Areas Firming Lifting Serum Against Embedded Cellulite (Exhibit 8).

BODY SLIM

SLACKENED & STUBBORN AREAS – FIRMING LIFTING SERUM AGAINST EMBEDDED CELLULITE

.   .   .   .  

Helps firm and shape

inner arms and thighs

Reduces the appearance

of cellulite in stubborn areas

.   .   .   .  

2% patented WTB SYSTEM [sacred lotus – white willow – peptide]

12.5% LIPO-REVERSE [10% active caffeine

+ 2.5% glaucine complex]

1% anti-glycation complex

5% sesame extracts.

.   .   .   .  

Results after just 14 days

Improved tone on inner arms: 85% and thighs: 90%

Reduced appearance of stubborn cellulite: 77%

Lifted skin: 83%

Any studies appearing in product footnotes may lack credibility, due to this non-exhaustive list of flaws:

  • Ø not published or subjected to critique or peer-review by the scientific community
  • Ø based upon self-reporting of subjects
  • Ø unblinded – i.e. not a double blind placebo-controlled trial
  • Ø small sample size
  • Ø no meta-analysis of other cellulite studies
  • Ø possible test subject selection bias

 

The Lierac Body-Slim products are expensive ($50 – $80) but do they serve a real purpose or benefit to consumers?

The Scientific Community’s Rejection of Anti-Cellulite Claims

According to the first scholarly paper written on the topic of cellulite, “[I]t is an important obligation of physicians to teach the fact that so-called cellulite is not a disease, but is the result of the sex-typical structure of the skin of women and a natural consequence of aging,” and “there is up to now no other cosmetic or medical (short of surgical) treatment to improve so-called cellulite, certainly none at all to cause complete disappearance of it.” Nürnberger, F. and Müller, G. “So-Called Cellulite: An Invented Disease.”   The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology (1978) 4:3 221-9.

Medical practitioners still soundly reject the notion that any topical product can effectively treat the condition of cellulite:

  • “At this point, there is no outstanding treatment for cellulite.” (Dr. Molly Wanner, dermatology instructor at Harvard Medical School. See St. Louis, Catherine. “Treating Cellulite? It’s Still There.”[2] The New York Times (June 24, 2009).   See also Wanner, Molly. “An evidence-based review of existing cellulite-reduction treatments.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. (2008) April 7(4):341-5.
  • “It’s a Madison Avenue term. It’s a normal variant of fat that shows as dimples. There’s no way a cream or pounding will change that fat.” (Dr. Samuel J. Stegman, associate clinical professor of dermatology at the University of California at San Francisco). See Wells, Linda. “Beauty; Battle of the Bulge.”[3] The New York Times, July 3, 1988.
  • “It’s not a happy situation for women who want to get rid of it because we don’t know how to treat it.” (Dr. Arthur Shipp, clinical professor of plastic surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York who conducted an extensive cellulite study. See Carr, Amy. “Erasing Cellulite.”[4] Daily Herald (Arlington Heights) June 7, 1998.
  • “[A]ccording to 27 years of medical literature recently reviewed in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, scientific proof that creams make a real, lasting difference does not exist. ‘There is no evidence to show that any topical medications improve cellulite.’” (Dr. Mathew Avram, Harvard Medical School). See Siegel, Jessica. “Fat Chance.”[5] The New York Times, August 15, 2005.
  • “According to [UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine Dr. Jenny] Kim, no studies have convincingly shown that cellulite creams do any good on actual bodies.” Woolston, Chris. “Little proof of cellulite cream success.”[6] Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2008.
  • “I don’t think the evidence is there to recommend spending money on a cellulite cream,” says Dr. Molly Wanner, a dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. Id.

In January 2014, The Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement enjoining a cosmetics company from making deceptive cellulite cream claims.   See “FTC Approves Final Consent Settling Charges that L’Occitane, Inc. Misled Consumers to Believe that Creams Could Slim Their Bodies.[7] In that case, the FTC alleged that L’Occitane violated the Federal Trade Commission Act because it advertised a cream that “helps to visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite,” and “reduces cellulite.” See Complaint, In re L’Occitane, Inc. a corporation, FTC file No. 122 3115[8].

Ales sells Lierac Body-Slim to United States consumers through a variety of different channels, including through independent retailers (such as CVS, Walgreens, Amazon, Drugstore.com), and through Ales’ website, http://www.lierac-usa.com.

[1] Wanner M, Avram M. “An evidence-based assessment of treatments for cellulite.” J Drugs Dermatol. 2008 Apr;7(4):341-5.

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/fashion/25skinintro.html?_r=0, last accessed November 19, 2015.

[3] http://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/03/magazine/beauty-battle-of-the-bulge.html, last accessed November 19, 2015.

[4] https://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-68783688.html, last accessed November 19, 2015.

[5] http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/15/opinion/fat-chance.html, last accessed 11/19/15.

[6] http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-skeptic3-2008nov03-story.html, last accessed November 19, 2015.

[7] https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/04/ftc-approves-final-consent-settling-charges-loccitane-inc-misled, last accessed November 19, 2015

[8] https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/140408loccitanecmpt.pdf, last accessed November 19, 2015

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Active Case: KT Tape False Advertising Class Action

Some consumers have questions about KT Tape. 

  • Does KT Tape work?
  • “Does KT Tape relieve pain?”
  • “Does Kt Tape enhance athletic performance?”

The KT Tape Class Action Lawsuit

On October 30, 2015, in the District of Massachusetts, with Pastor Law Office and SFMS, we initiated a false advertising class action lawsuit concerning KT Tape. If you purchased KT Tape and are dissatisfied with the results, we want to hear from you immediately. You may be entitled to financial compensation. 

KT Tape

KT Tape

The defendants in the KT Tape false advertising class action complaint are KT Health Holdings, Inc. d/b/a KT Health, Inc., KT Holdings, LLC and KT Health, LLC (formerly Lumos, Inc.), (collectively, “KT Health”).  KT Health, LLC is owned by Palladin Consumer Retail Partners, LLC.

The lawsuit alleges:

KT Health has made a concerted and orchestrated effort to prey on consumers’ eternal hope that products exist that can quickly and effortlessly alleviate their pain.

KT Health has deceptively represented that by simply applying strips of bright, stretchy fabric with an adhesive backing onto the skin above an injured area, consumers can obtain relief from pain, recover faster, and receive treatment from a myriad of common injuries such as achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, rib pain, runner’s knee, and shin splints.

KT Health’s calculated product placement on the bodies of Olympic athletes and famous sports stars has, remarkably, given life to a new product called “kinesiology tape” or kinesio tape.”

The product being sold by KT Health is nothing but a scientific-sounding, made- up word: “Kinesio Tape” or “KT Tape” for short.  KT Health manufactures and sells several products under the name of KT Tape:  KT Tape (also referred to as KT Tape Cotton or KT Original), KT Tape Pro, KT Tape ProX Patches, KT Tape Clinical, and KT Tape Limited Editions.[1]  These products are referred to collectively herein as “KT Tape” or “KT Tape Product(s).”

KT Tape is not wound around portions of the body (as is the case with traditional athletic tape), but instead is pre-stretched and then stuck onto the skin above the injury.

The concept for KT Tape is not even an original one: a Japanese chiropractor named Kenzo Kase came up with the idea in the 1970s.  The idea was as lacking in substance or merit then as it is now.  KT Health’s creative and aggressive marketing efforts are the only reason that KT Health has been able to sell so much of this product at premium prices.

Traditional or standard athletic tape, which is commonly used to provide support and compression, (i.e wrapping around a football player’s sprained ankle) has a recognized place in sports medicine, but KT Tape does not.

In contrast to its common white cotton fabric tape counterpart (traditional athletic tape), KT Tape has a colorful sheen, and is the opposite of regular athletic tape, as KT Tape is supposed to lift the skin (as opposed to compressing it).

There is some suggestion that purchasers could benefit from a placebo effect when using KT Tape; “Some experts have suggested there may be a placebo effect in using the tape, with athletes believing it will be helpful,” [but] “[n]o clinically important results were found to support the tape’s use for pain relief.”[2] KT Health does not disclose to consumers that if there are any health benefits to be obtained from KT Tape, they are limited to the placebo effect.

Through misleading statements in its labeling, advertising, and marketing of its so-called “Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape” or “KT Tape,” KT Health has promoted the myth that its products work to treat a variety of sports-related injuries.

KT Health profits handsomely by making misleading claims that the KT Tape Products have unique pain and injury-negating effects when applied to human skin.

The KT Tape Products’ packaging makes the following representations, among others:

  • “For Pain Relief and Support” (emphasis added) (KT Tape and Tape Pro)
  • “For Common Injuries”: carpal tunnel, hamstring strain, wrist pain, runner’s knee, neck strain, calf strain, shoulder pain, achilles tendonitis, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, golfer’s elbow, shin splints, rib pain, ankle sprain, gluteus sprain, and quad sprain (emphasis added) (KT Tape and KT Tape Pro)
  • “For Targeted Pain Relief” (emphasis added) (KT Tape Pro X Patches)
  • “For Targeted—Muscle—Pain Relief” (emphasis added) (KT Tape Pro X Patches)
  • “For Fast, Easy Pain Relief” from “Muscle Pains, Overuse Injuries, Tendonitis … and More.” (emphasis added) (KT Tape Pro X Patches)

Every package of KT Tape contains the above claims and representations such that every consumer who purchases a KT Tape Product is exposed to these claims and representations.

In addition, the website, www.kttape.com, contains the following false representations[3] concerning the KT Tape Products:

  • “KT TAPE is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support.” (emphasis added) (all KT Tape Products)
  • KT Tape “can be used for hundreds of common injuries such as lower back pain, knee pain, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow, just to name a few.” (emphasis added) (all KT Tape Products)
  • KT Tape “provides 24 hour [pain] relief per application for days at a time through sweat, strain and humidity” (emphasis added) (all KT Tape Products)
  • KT Tape “provides targeted pain relief and will stay in place through multiple workouts for up to 3 days, through daily showers, humidity, cold, even in the pool.” (emphasis added) (KT Tape)
  • “SORE MUSCLES, JOINTS, AND TENDONS—REJOICE” (KT Tape and KT Tape Pro)
  • KT Tape Pro “is just what the trainer ordered. It will keep you pain free and supported exactly where you need it.” (emphasis added)
  • “KT TAPE PRO X provides targeted relief for muscle pain, overuse injuries, and tendon-related pain and injuries.” (emphasis added)

Every package of KT Tape and KT Tape Pro plainly represents that KT Tape treats 16 specific injuries:

FOR COMMON INJURIES

CARPAL TUNNEL

HAMSTRING STRAIN

WRIST PAIN

RUNNER’S KNEE

NECK STRAIN

CALF STRAIN

SHOULDER PAIN

ACHILLES TENDONITIS

TENNIS ELBOW

PLANTAR FASCIITIS

GOLFER’S ELBOW

SHIN SPLINTS

RIB PAIN

ANKLE SPRAIN

GLUTEUS SPRAIN

QUAD STRAIN

Every package of KT Tape Pro X Patches adds tendonitis to the list of specific injuries it will treat, and includes additional catch-all or general pain relief claims:

FOR FAST, EASY PAIN RELIEF

MUSCLE PAINS

OVERUSE INJURIES

TENDONITIS

…AND MORE

Videos on KT Health’s website[4] and YouTube Channel[5] instruct users on how to apply KT Tape to supposedly gain relief from a long list of painful ailments.[6]

Unfonsumers, the pain relief and injury treatment claims made by KT Health are false, deceptive, and misleading.  KT Tape Products are not the panacea they are claimed to be.

As a result, KT Health’s marketing and advertising campaign is the same as that of the quintessential snake-oil salesman – KT Health dupes consumers with false and misleading promises of results it knows it cannot deliver, and does so with one goal in mind – selling larger volumes of KT Tape Products to consumers and reaping enormous profits.

The premise that there are any health benefits to be derived by tensioning or adjusting the skin through the application of stretchable sports tape, known as “kinesiology tape” or kinesio tape” (such as increasing blood flow) is not supported by scientific evidence, and is not accepted by the medical community.

To the contrary, there are numerous recently published, peer-reviewed, scholarly articles revealing the ineffective and useless nature of kinesiology tape.  The conclusions of these studies unmask the deception utilized by KT Health to market KT Tape:

  • Conclusion: “This review provides the most updated evidence on the effectiveness of the Kinesio Taping for musculoskeletal conditions. The current evidence does not support the use of this intervention in these clinical populations.”[7]
  • Conclusion: “The application of Kinesio Taping, with the aim of stimulating the lymphatic system, is ineffective in decreasing acute swelling after an ankle sprain in athletes.”[8]
  • Conclusion: “Kinesio Taping applied with stretch to generate convolutions in the skin was no more effective than simple application of the tape without tension for the outcomes measured. These results challenge the proposed mechanism of action of this therapy.”[9]
  • Conclusion: “There was no substantial evidence to support the use of KT for improvements in other musculoskeletal outcomes (pain, ankle proprioception or muscle activity).”[10]

Pseudoscience, deceptive and misleading claims of purported health benefits, and celebrity athlete endorsements–instead of valid research and innovation and actual ability to treat injuries and provide pain relief– are responsible for the massive sales of KT Tape.

Despite the falsity of Defendants’ claims and assertions, when KT Health introduced KT Tape in the United States sports market in 2008, it launched a massive advertising and marketing campaign prominently featuring “Targeted Pain Relief” as a benefit of KT Tape, while associating the product with images of the world’s most elite athletes:

1. KT1

Defendants’ nationwide multimedia advertising campaign has been extensive and comprehensive.  KT Health has spent millions of dollars on, among other things, print and television advertisements[11] intended to convey these deceptive messages to consumers throughout the United States, including Plaintiff and the other Class members.  KT Health’s advertising campaign for KT Tape is continuing through the present.

As a result of KT Health’s false claims about the benefits of KT Tape, consumers, including Plaintiff and other Class members, have paid a premium price for a product that does not perform as claimed and advertised.

Defendants have been able to charge, and Plaintiff and the other members of the proposed Class have paid, a price premium for KT Tape over traditional athletic tape.  KT Health has used deceptive claims regarding the purported benefits of KT tape to charge a premium approximately ten times the price of traditional athletic tape, and has achieved massive sales of KT Tape as a result.

KT Health’s false, deceptive and misleading representations about the pain-relieving and injury-treating properties of KT Tape were and are material; there would be no reason for a consumer to purchase a KT Tape Product and pay a premium price for it (over and above the price of traditional athletic tape) if not for the claims and representations about KT Tape’s ability to relieve pain and treat a variety of injuries.

Facts Relating to KT Health’s False, Deceptive, and

Misleading Advertising and Marketing

KT Health designs, manufactures, markets, distributes, and sells KT Tape.

KT Health began selling KT Tape in the United States in 2008.

KT Health has claimed consistently that its KT Tape Products relieve pain and treat a variety of injuries (as described in greater detail above and below).

For example, in August of 2012, KT Health LLC Chief Executive Officer, John MacKay, boasted in a press release concerning KT Health LLC’s sponsorship of a famous triathlete: “Triathletes test the boundaries of human endurance.  KT Tape enables them to go the distance, both in and out of the water, without being sidelined by injuries and pain.”[12]

KT Health’s marketing department has continuously promoted the falsehood that KT Tape differs from, and is superior to traditional athletic tape, by claiming that it is used to “treat and prevent hundreds of common injuries.”[13]

KT Health repeats its misrepresentations about KT Tape (that it relieves pain and is a panacea for common musculo-skeletal ailments) on its website, located at http://www.KT Tape.com which is available to the general public. Below are reproductions of images and representations found on the KT Health website:

WHAT IS KT TAPE

KT Tape is an elastic sports and fitness tape designed for muscle, ligament and tendon pain relief and support. (Emphasis added.)

WHO IS IT FOR?

Whether you’re training for your first marathon, getting ready for your next game, reaching a personal fitness goal, or just trying to get through the day, you already know that nothing slows you down faster than pain and injury. KT TAPE is lightweight, comfortable to wear, and can be used for hundreds of common injuries such as lower back pain, knee pain, shin splints, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow, just to name a few. (Emphasis added).

KT TAPE not only looks good, but it also provides 24 hour relief per application for days at a time through sweat, strain and humidity, and can even be worn in water thanks to our specially designed adhesive. (Emphasis added.)

DESIGNED TO GIVE YOU PAIN RELIEF AND SUPPORT

KT TAPE is applied along muscles, ligaments, and tendons (soft tissue) to provide a lightweight, external support that helps you remain active while recovering from injuries. KT Tape creates neuromuscular feedback (called proprioception) that inhibits (relaxes) or facilitates stronger firing of muscles and tendons. This feedback creates support elements without the bulk and restriction commonly associated with wraps and heavy bracing. KT Tape gives you confidence to perform your best.[14]

KT TAPE PRO

KT Tape Pro

KT Tape Pro

SORE MUSCLES, JOINTS, AND TENDONS – REJOICE

Need support that will endure your toughest workout? KT TAPE PRO is just what the trainer ordered. It will keep you pain free and supported exactly where you need it. (Emphasis added.)  KT TAPE PRO will stay in place through multiple demanding workouts for up to seven days. KT TAPE PRO will stick with you in the harshest conditions including daily showers, humidity, cold, even in the pool.

KT TAPE PRO is performance engineered to work in the harshest environments. It’s the world’s only 100% synthetic kinesiology tape, re-engineered with stronger adhesive, to outlast anything you can throw at it.

Each box comes with 20 precut strips of 100% synthetic tape. One hard plastic carrying case with twist on lids to keep your tape in good shape in your gym bag or purse. One Quick Start Guide with step-by-step instructions on the most common injuries and one KT sticker.[15]

KT TAPE

KT Tape

KT Tape

SORE MUSCLES, JOINTS AND TENDONS-REJOICE

Need support that will endure multiple lighter workouts? Then original KT TAPE is for you. It provides targeted pain relief and will stay in place through multiple workouts for up to 3 days, through daily showers, humidity, cold, even in the pool. (Emphasis added.)

Each box comes with 20 precut strips of tape on a roll and a quick start guide with step-by-step instructions for the most common injuries.[16]

KT TAPE PRO X

4. KT Tape Prox X

ELASTIC SPORTS PATCHES

FOR TARGETED PAIN RELIEF

Convenient and easy to apply

Use in place of KT TAPE half strips

Use with 10-inch strips or alone for pain relief (Emphasis added.)

KT TAPE PRO X™ is a kinesiology patch specially designed to provide targeted relief for muscle pain, overuse injuries, and tendon-related pain and injuries. KT TAPE PRO X patches were developed for the on-the-go, active consumer who appreciates a healthy lifestyle and doesn’t want to be slowed down by pain or complex taping applications. KT TAPE PRO X will stay in place through multiple demanding workouts for up to 3-5 days (Emphasis added.)

Each box comes with 15 precut X patches. One hard plastic carrying case will help keep your patches in good shape in your gym bag or purse. One Quick Start Guide with step-by-step instructions on the most common injuries is included as well.[17]

KT Health publishes videos on its website that purport to show how KT tape is utilized to treat musculo-skeletal problems and conditions, such as Osgood-Schlatter disease and Illiotibial Band Syndrome (“ITBS”).  Alongside such videos, KT Health makes injury treatment claims such as “KT Tape application for ITBS at the knee is very helpful in relieving much of the associated pain by relieving pressure over the bony prominence (sore spot) and in turn increases circulation. Functional support is provided to the musculature as well.  These functions help relieve pain and promote the healing process.”[18]

KT Health sells KT Tape Products to United States consumers through a variety of different channels, including through independent retailers (such as CVS, Rite-Aid, Target, Amazon, Foot Locker and Walmart), and through KT Health’s website, www.KTTape.com.

KT Health’s untrue, deceptive and misleading labeling, advertising, marketing and promotion of KT Tape has continued throughout the Class Period, and is continuing as of the present date.

As purchasers of KT Tape who were aggrieved by KT Health’s untrue and misleading advertising (in that Plaintiff and the other Class members purchased a product that did not conform to the claims and representations made about it by KT Health, including claims about “pain relief,” “increased muscle activation” and other claims and representations), Plaintiff is entitled to and brings this class action to seek all available remedies…

Footnotes

[1] KT Tape Clinical is simply a differently packaged version of KT Tape or KT Tape Pro, available pre-cut or uncut, allowing for larger volume purchases, primarily for trainers and physical therapists.  The KT Tape Limited Editions differ from the other KT Tape Products only cosmetically, in pattern and color, but are otherwise the same as the other KT Tape Products, and subject to the same claims and representations.

[2] Kinesio Tape for Athletes: A Big Help, or Hype? http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/kinesio-tape-athletes-help-hype, last accessed October 22, 2015.

[3] http://www.kttape.com/store/kttape.html#tabDesc, last accessed on October 19, 2015.

[4] http://www.kttape.com/instructions/, last accessed on October 19, 2015.

[5] https://www.youtube.com/user/LumosInc, last accessed on October 19, 2015.

[6] “LEGS: IT Band Hip, Calf, Shin Splints, Posterior Shin Splints, Quad, Hamstrings, Groin, Hip Flexor, Gluteus, Knees, Outer Knee, Inner Knee, Full Knee Support, Osgood Schlatter, Back of Knee; ANKLES/FEET: Achilles Tendonitis, Ankle Stability, Plantar Fasciitis, Peroneal Tendonitis, Ball of Foot, Heel, Bunion, Turf Toe; TRUNK/BACK: SI Joint, Low Back, Middle Back, Ribs, Spine, Abdominals; NECK/SHOULDERS: Neck & Shoulder, General Shoulder, Rotator Cuff, AC Joint, Shoulder Stability; ARMS/HANDS: Wrist, General Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, Tennis Elbow, Finger Jam, Thumb, Bicep, Tricep.”

[7] Current  evidence  does  not  support  the  use  of  Kinesio  Taping  in clinical  practice:  a  systematic  review, Journal  of  Physiotherapy  60  (2014)  31–39, last accessed on October 19, 2015 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1836955314000095.

[8] Kinesio Taping does not decrease swelling in acute, lateral ankle sprain of athletes: a randomised trial, Journal of Physiotherapy 61 (2015) 28–33), last accessed on October 19, 2015 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1836955314001489.

[9] Kinesio Taping to generate skin convolutions is not better than sham taping for people with chronic non-specific low back pain: a randomised trial, Journal of Physiotherapy 60 (2014) 90–96, last accessed on October 19, 2015 from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1836955314000368.

[10] Kinesio Taping in Treatment and Prevention of Sports Injuries A Meta-Analysis of the Evidence for its Effectiveness, Sports Medicine (Auckland, N.Z.) [Sports Med] 2012 Feb 1; Vol. 42 (2), pp. 153-64.

[11] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxfKWyufp14, last accessed October 19, 2015.

[12] http://fortyninegroup.com/tag/kt-tape/ last accessed on October 19, 2015.

[13] Id.

[14] http://www.kttape.com/what-is-kt-tape/, last accessed on October 30, 2015.

[15] http://www.kttape.com/store/#tabDesc, last accessed on October 30, 2015.

[16] http://www.kttape.com/store/kttape.html#tabDesc, last accessed on October 30, 2015.

[17] http://www.kttape.com/store/pro-x/kt-tape-pro-x.html#tabDesc, last accessed on October 22, 2015.

[18] http://www.kttape.com/instructions/outer-knee/#pnlReadMoreAfter, last accessed on October 19, 2015.

Information about KT Tape

Reed M. Quinn is the “inventor” of a proces for making KT Tape: US8216415 – KT Tape Patent. The US patent number is US 8216415 B2.

US Patent documents claim that “Kinesiology tape consists of a strip of elastic and non elastic fibers, usually covered in cotton, which is placed on human skin. Kinesiology tape is useful in therapy to reduce soreness in overused and injured muscles and in rehabilitation to accelerate recovery. The tape can have a lifting effect on the skin Which can reduce swelling and inflammation by improving circulation and reduce pain by taking pressure off pain receptors.”

Background information about the history of this company is posted on Reed Quinn’s Linkedin page:

Video of KT Tape Packaging

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Under Investigation: Derma Silk

Questions about DermaSilk — False Advertising?

Many skin creams and serums make anti-aging and anti-wrinkle claims, but few are as aggressive as the claims made by the DermSilk line of products.

Question:

Does using DermaSilk products result in any of the results listed below?

–  “…Age Erasing” effects”

–  “Reverses the effects of aging while you sleep”

–  “Reduces the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet, smile lines, dull skin.”

– “Turn back the clock on aging”

–  “…age reversing effects”

–  “…age reversing complex”

–  “…delivers a regenerating complex designed to reverse the effects of aging while you sleep.”

–  “…diminishing the appearance of skin damage, and restoring a youthful appearance.”

–  “…reduces the appearance of existing facial wrinkles”

–  “…relaxes ‘crease memory’ and offers long-term relief from visible laugh lines and crow’s feet.”

–  “multi-action age-reversers”

(DermaSilk Night Repairing Face Lift “Age-Erasing Skin Repair”)

DermaSilk night face lift

DermaSilk Night Repairing Face Lift “Age-Erasing Skin Repair”

The DermaSilk Anti Aging Product Line:


1 Minute Collagen Lift
5 Minute Beauty Peel
1 Minute Wrinkle Erase Pen
Night Repairing Face Lift
Skin Perfect
Flawless
5 Minute Face Lift
90 Second Eye Lift
Miracle Cream

Information about DermaSilk

DermaSilk is a product of Biotech International Corporation in Glastonbury Connecticut.  According to records held by the Connecticut Secretary of State [PDF], Biotech International Corporation was incorporated under the laws of Connecticut in 1994. Biotech’s principal place of business is 65 Kreiger Lane, Glastonbury, CT, 06033, and is led by Gregory J. Kelly, President and C.E.O. The company’s customer service number is (800) 886-9052, website: http://www.dermasilk.org.

According to the website,

  • “Biotech Corporation understands very well how both women and men feel about this change in their skin. For over fifteen years, we have been dedicated to anti-aging research in the field of cosmetics. The Biotech Corporation is a cutting edge cosmetics company. With our development of DermaSilk® Anti-Wrinkle we believe we have finally unlocked the secret to overcoming the natural signs of aging by reducing the appearance of aging skin. With DermaSilk we can all face the future with confidence and grace.”
  • “DISCLAIMER: DermaSilk is intended solely for use as an anti-aging cosmetic; DermaSilk is not intended as a substitute for cosmetic or medical procedures.”

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Filed under Class Action Investigations

Product Investigation: Sudden Sleep for Women

Recently overheard:

“Sudden sleep?  What is this stuff? Specifically formulated for women? What does that mean?”

Sudden Sleep

Sudden Sleep

Sudden Sleep is a new product from Biotab Nutraceuticals, the company behind Extenze.  Biotab was on the receiving end of several actions from California authorities, and at least one class action lawsuit alleging false advertising.    Continue reading

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Filed under False Advertising Investigations