FTC Alleges Deceptive Advertising by Natural Bed Bug and Lice Treatment Marketers
The FTC has charged two marketers of bed bug treatments using natural ingredients such as cinnamon and cedar oil with making unsubstantiated claims that their products could prevent or eliminate infestations. The FTC also alleged that one of the marketers claimed that its products worked on head lice, as well.
In one of the two cases, RMB Group, LLC and its principals have agreed to settle the charges relating to their “Rest Easy” bed bug products. In the case against Cedarcide Industries, Inc. and others, challenging their marketing of “Best Yet!” bed bug and head lice treatments, the defendants have not settled, and the FTC is beginning litigation against them.
According to the FTC complaint, Cedarcide Industries, Inc. claims that the cedar-oil based products they market under the name BEST Yet!, will treat and prevent bed bug and head lice infestations. The products are sold nationwide to consumers and also to hotels for bed bugs and to school districts for treating head lice.
The FTC complaint charges that the Cedarcide defendants make:
- unsupported claims that Best Yet! is effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations and that it is more effective than synthetic pesticides at doing so;
- false claims that scientific studies prove Best Yet!is effective at stopping and preventing bed bug infestations, and that it is more effective than synthetic pesticides at doing so;
- a false claim that the Environmental Protection Agency has warned consumers to avoid all synthetic pesticides for treating bed bug infestations;
- unsupported claims that Best Yet! is effective in stopping and preventing head lice infestations, killing head lice eggs, dissolving the glue that binds head lice eggs (known as nits) to hair, and killing head lice and their eggs in a single treatment; and
- false claims that scientific studies prove Best Yet! is effective in stopping and preventing head lice infestations.
- false claims that Best Yet!was invented for the U.S. Army at the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and that the USDA has acknowledged the product as the number one choice of bio-based pesticides.
According to the FTC, RMB Group, LLC marketed Rest Easy, a liquid containing cinnamon, lemongrass, peppermint, and clove oils for consumer use, primarily when staying in hotel rooms. The FTC complaint charges that the made unsupported claims that Rest Easy kills and repels bed bugs, and that a consumer can create a barrier against them by spraying the product around a bed.
Under the settlement, the defendants are barred from representing that Rest Easy or any other pesticide kills or repels bed bugs or creates a barrier against them, and making any claims about the performance of such a product, unless they are true and backed by competent and reliable scientific evidence.