FTC Files Complaint Against Pain-Relief Bracelet MarketersFTC Files Complaint Against Pain-Relief Bracelet Marketers
June 3, 2003
WASHINGTON--The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged marketers of the Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet® with making false and unsubstantiated claims in a complaint filed May 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. In its complaint, FTC alleged QT Inc., Q-Ray Co. and Bio-Metal Inc.--all based in Elk Grove Village, Ill.--and their principals, Que Te Park and Jung Joo Park, broke the law by claiming the Q-Ray Bracelet is a fast-acting, effective treatment for pain from various afflictions, including musculoskeletal pain, sciatica, headaches, tendonitis and injuries. FTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, including redress, to consumers who purchased the Q-Ray Bracelet.
In its complaint, FTC alleged the defendants' claims that the Q-Ray Bracelet relieves pain were unsubstantiated. The defendants claimed in infomercials and on Web sites (www.qray.com, www.q-ray.com, www.bio-ray.com) that the C-shaped metal bracelet is "ionized" through a proprietary process that endows the metal with pain-relieving abilities and that it works by altering the body's positive and negative energy. In opposition to this claim, FTC cited a double blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., that showed the Q-Ray Bracelet was no more effective than placebo for relieving muscular and joint pain (Mayo Clin Proc, 77, 11:1164-8, 2002). The study involved 610 participants, with half wearing a Q-Ray Bracelet and half wearing a placebo bracelet. After four weeks, both groups reported a significant improvement in pain, although researchers stated there were no differences between the treatment and placebo groups. Another study out of Wayne State University in Detroit indicated that as a result of a profound placebo effect, the Q-Ray ionized bracelet was not superior to placebo for patients with musculoskeletal pain (J Fam Pract, 52, 3:194-5, 2003). However, researchers stated many patients may experience less pain if they use the bracelet because a perception that the treatment will work profoundly improves its efficacy.
FTC's complaint also noted many consumers given a 30-day, money-back guarantee were unable to obtain refunds for the purchase price of the bracelet, which ranged from $49.95 to $249.95, despite numerous attempts to contact the manufacturer. Additionally, some purchasers who viewed the infomercial and ordered the Q-Ray Bracelet online were not offered this 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
A federal district court has issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants prohibiting them from making any misleading or deceptive claims about the Q-Ray Bracelet and freezing their assets. QT Inc. did not return a call for comment by press time.
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