The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that it has taken legal action against three companies involved in the marketing of an innovative product known as the “invisible mask” during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This action was prompted by the companies’ misleading claims surrounding the efficacy of the product in preventing the spread of viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19.
The FTC initially alerted the defendants about their false and deceptive advertising practices in June 2020. The companies were marketing a badge, labeled as the “Virus Buster,” which they claimed could provide a 3-foot barrier of protection, stopping 99.9% of germs. Unfortunately, these assertions lacked scientific evidence and were deemed misleading by the FTC.
Contrary to the expected functionality of a mask, this badge was designed to be worn around the neck, leaving the nose and mouth uncovered – a clear violation of public health standards and guidelines. The FTC highlighted that the defendants’ promotional materials featured baseless claims, such as utilizing “quantum theory technology” and incorporating compounds known to combat viruses and bacteria effectively.
During the time these products were being marketed, many states had implemented mandatory mask-wearing protocols in public spaces to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The false claims made by the defendants not only misled consumers but also undermined public health efforts by providing a false sense of protection.
If approved by a federal judge, the defendants would be required to pay a settlement of $150,000, in addition to being banned from advertising, promoting, or selling any product purporting to prevent or treat COVID-19 without scientific substantiation. While Gary Kong and the two companies he operates, K W Technology Inc. and K W Technology NV Inc., have agreed to the terms of the settlement, Timothy Wetzel has yet to reach an agreement with the FTC.
Samuel Levine, the Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, emphasized the importance of stopping false and unverified health claims that put consumers at risk. Levine sternly refuted the defendants’ assertions that their products could substitute for approved COVID-19 vaccines, declaring them entirely baseless. The FTC remains committed to utilizing all available resources to combat misleading health claims and protect the welfare of consumers.
Q: What were the claims made by the manufacturers of the “invisible mask”?
The manufacturers claimed that their product, a badge worn around the neck, could create a 3-foot barrier of protection and kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, including COVID-19, using quantum theory technology.
Q: Why did the Federal Trade Commission take action against the manufacturers?
The FTC deemed the manufacturers’ claims to be unsupported by scientific evidence and misleading to consumers.
Q: Will the manufacturers be allowed to continue advertising and selling similar products?
No, if the settlement is approved, the manufacturers will be banned from advertising, promoting, or selling any product claiming to prevent or treat COVID-19 without scientific substantiation.
Q: What are the consequences for the manufacturers if the settlement is accepted?
If approved, the manufacturers will need to pay a settlement of $150,000 and comply with the terms outlined by the FTC. Timothy Wetzel’s agreement is still pending.
Q: Why is it important to address false health claims?
False and unverified health claims can mislead consumers, endanger their well-being, and undermine public health efforts. It is crucial to provide accurate information and protect the welfare of consumers.