BBB National Programs Archive
ERSP Reviews Ad For Ethos Fuel Re-Formulator
New York, NY – December 13, 2006 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) announced that 4-E Corporation, and Ethos Environmental, Inc., as marketer and manufacturer, respectively, of the Ethos Fuel Re-formulator, have provided a reasonable basis for general product-performance claims and safety claims.
However, ERSP has recommended that certain establishment claims and more specific, quantified performance claims be modified. Advertising for the product was reviewed pursuant to an anonymous complaint.
ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum, is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) with policy oversight by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).
ERSP reviewed Internet advertisin g for the Ethos Fuel Re-formulator. Claims at issue in the ERSP inquiry included:
- “EPA laboratory tests confirm that Ethos FR is 99.99976% ashless upon combustion and is free of carcinogenic compounds.”
- “Product has been Government tested and Approved.”
- “7%-19% fuel savings!” “PROVEN 10-year track record” “Non-Toxic!”
- “You could drink it; it’s just a mineral oil with an incredible patent behind it.”
ERSP noted in its decision that the marketer removed claims that its product has been “Government Tested and Approved” in order to better communicate that the product was tested in EPA-certified laboratories and not by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) itself.
Following its review of the evidence, ERSP determined the marketer should modify the claim that “EPA laboratory tests confirm that Ethos FR is 99.99976% ashless upon combustion and is free of carcinogenic compounds” so as not to imply that the claim is based upon an EPA test.
ERSP found that the scientific information submit ted by the companies provided a reasonable basis for general product performance claims, but remained concerned by the marketer’s supporting evidence for the more specific, quantified product performance claims.
ERSP determined that the marketer had adequately addressed the claim that the product has a “PROVEN 10-year track record” but recommended that the marketer modify the claim “7%-19% fuel savings” to indicate that these results were based on anecdotal consumer reports and that individual results will vary.
ERSP concluded that the marketer’s evidence provided a reasonable basis for safety claims that the product is “non-toxic” and “non-hazardous.” The marketer confirmed it was no longer making the claim “You could drink it; it’s just a mineral oil with an incredible patent behind it.”
4-E Corporation, in its marketer statement, said it “agrees to accept ERSP’s decision and agrees to modify its advertising to the extent that it has not yet done so.”
Ethos Environmental, in its marketer’s statement, said that it “agrees to accept ERSP’s decision and agrees to modify its advertising in accordance with ERSP’s recommendations to the extent that it has not yet done so.”