FTC is content material with the TV antenna and amplifier firm Wellco about “deceptive” product claims
On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had reached an agreement with Wellco Inc. and its CEO George M. Moscone that the company would provide “hundreds of thousands of indoor TV antennas and signal amplifiers with misleading claims to consumers The products would allow users to cancel their cable service and still receive all of their favorite channels for free. “
According to the New York South Borough complaint, since 2017 the defendants have “advertised, offered for sale, sold and distributed under the brand names TV Scout, SkyWire, SkyLink and Tilt TV …” The FTC found that a Wellco TV antenna ranged from $ 22.53 to $ 39.95 and a Wellco TV amplifier was $ 32.00. Buying more than one device reduced the price per device. Allegedly, the defendants sold more than 800,000 antennas and 272,000 amplifiers, “which after the return of the product resulted in sales of around 35 million US dollars. The FTC alleged that the defendants were advertising
The FTC found that the defendants have violated the Federal Trade Commission law that prohibits “unfair or misleading acts or practices in trade or the interference with trade” by making various false or unfounded claims of effectiveness, such as that the Defendants’ Number 1 TV Antennas are Indoor HDTV Antenna in America “that their TV antennas allow consumers” to stop paying for cable or satellite TV subscriptions and still get all of their favorite TV channels receive ”, or that the antennas, among other things,“ receive more than 100 premium channels in HD ”are allegedly false or misleading claims. As a result, the FTC alleged that these allegations were misleading and contrary to FTC law. The defendants have also allegedly carried out false advertising via endorsers of consumers, which, according to the FTC, represented that consumer in several cases “in connection with the advertising, marketing, sales promotion, offering to sell or sell the antennas that the defendants” represented In Wellco TV- Any statements contained in antenna advertising reflect the actual experiences, knowledge, opinions or beliefs of consumers who have used the Wellco TV antenna. In fact, according to the FTC, the defendants “made up the consumer notices”. The FTC alleged the defendants made other false statements that also violated FTC law. The Commission has argued that the defendants’ conduct caused injury and harm to consumers.
“The defendants used every trick in the book to sell their antennas and amplifiers to people, including older adults, who wanted to save money on cable and satellite television channels,” Daniel Kaufman, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told a press release. “People should be able to trust companies’ claims and not discover they’ve been told lies after they buy.”
Under the Settlement Request and the related proposed provision, Defendants would be prohibited from making claims about: “the absolute or relative ratings or raking of the product or the superiority of the product over any other product”; “The Channels, Cable Channels, Subscription Channels, Favorite Channels, Premium Channels or Clear Channels that Users of the Product can or will receive, including the number of such Channels that Users can or will receive”; or “any material aspect of the performance, effectiveness, nature or key features of the product, unless the presentation is misleading.” The defendants are also prohibited from misrepresenting “that a recommendation is truthful confirmation or from an actual user of such a product “; “By using a recommendation for such a product”; “That any website or other publication is an objective news report”; that objective news reporters conducted independent tests on every product ”; or “that independent tests prove the effectiveness of a product.”
The proposed order provides for a US $ 31.82 million monetary verdict against the defendants for their alleged violations. However, the verdict will be on hold after the defendants paid $ 650,000 to the FTC for being unable to pay the full verdict.
The press release indicated that the agency voted 4-0 to approve the complaint and the proposed settlement.