FTC Halts Bogus Claims For "Fuel Saving" Device

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The manufacturer of a magnetic "fuel saving" and emissions-reduction device that did not save fuel or reduce emissions will pay $4.2 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the product's advertising claims were false.

The FTC will provide redress to consumers, and the defendants will be banned from selling or manufacturing magnetic fuel savings and emissions reduction devices.

The action, announced Aug. 22, settles charges against the manufacturer, International Research & Development Corp. of Nevada, and its principal, Anthony Renda.

In October 2004, the FTC filed a lawsuit alleging that marketers, and the resellers working with them, were making deceptive claims for FuelMAX and Super FuelMax products.

The Web site operators and their affiliates -- spammers who drove traffic to their sites -- made claims such as increases gas mileage 27 percent; reduces fuel consumption; and reduces emissions, the FTC said.

The agency charged that the false claims violated the FTC Act, and that by providing promotional materials with false claims to affiliates the defendants provided them with the means to violate the FTC Act.

In May 2005, the Web site marketers and spammers who promoted the products settled the FTC lawsuits. The settlements barred violations of the FTC Act and the CAN-SPAM Act and barred them from making deceptive claims.

The settlement imposes a lifetime ban on the manufacture, advertising, or sale of FuelMAX, Super FuelMAX or any similar fuel saving or emissions-decreasing product. It bars false or unsubstantiated claims and misrepresentations that products increase gas mileage or reduce emissions. The settlement bars the defendants from misrepresenting studies and bars them from performance or efficacy claims unless they possess and rely upon competent and reliable evidence. It also bars them from assisting others or providing others with the means and instruments to commit deception.

The defendants will pay $4.2 million for consumer redress.

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