FTC Targets Bracelet From Derby Controversy

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The Federal Trade Commission yesterday took aim at the marketers of the Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet, an item that inadvertently became involved in the controversy surrounding the winner of this year's Kentucky Derby.


QT Inc., Elk Grove Village, IL, and its principals Que Te Park and Jung Joo Park deceptively claimed in infomercials and on Web sites that the bracelet provided fast relief for pain, the FTC charged in a civil complaint against the company and the two men.


The Q-Ray bracelet gained notoriety after it became the subject of a misunderstanding between a reporter and the winning jockey after the derby held in May.


A Miami Herald reporter investigating rumors that Jose Santos, jockey for winning horse Funny Cide, was carrying an illegal object during the race had asked Santos in a telephone interview whether anything had been in his hand. According to the reporter, Santos replied in the affirmative and said he had been carrying a "cue ring" during the race.


Santos later said that he had said "Q-Ray," not cue ring. He was later cleared of any wrongdoing.


Though Santos' victory turned out to be legitimate, the FTC said the Q-Ray bracelet he wore for treatment of arthritis was not. Solicitations for the product claim that the bracelet is ionized and balances the body's positive and negative energies to treat several types of chronic pain, including that arising from musculoskeletal pain, sciatica, headaches, tendinitis and injuries, the FTC said.


QT Inc. and its affiliated companies, Q-Ray Co. and Bio-Metal Inc., charged $49.95 to $249.95 for the product, the FTC said. The companies failed to honor promises of a full refund if the item were returned after 30 days, according to the FTC.


A call to a customer service number listed at qray.com was placed on extensive hold. A call to the extension of the listed technical contact for the Web site did not go through.


The FTC seeks an immediate halt to sales of the Q-Ray bracelet along with unspecified financial redress for consumers who bought the item.


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