BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Examines Ratings Claims for ‘MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler,’ Recommends Vapore Discontinue ‘More 5-Star Reviews’ Claim

New York, NY – July 28, 2016 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Vapore, LLC, maker of the “MyPurMist Handheld Steam Inhaler,” discontinue the express claim that its product has more “5-star reviews than any other steam inhaler,” as well as consumer testimonials made in broadcast and Internet advertising.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

As part of its ongoing monitoring program, NAD requested the advertiser’s substantiation for its “5-star reviews” claims, and consumer and physician testimonials.

In response to NAD’s inquiry, the advertiser noted that the challenged claim was supported based on ratings captured from different retailer websites as of March 30, 2016.  According to the advertiser, MyPurMist had 901 “5-star reviews” compared to 539 “5-star reviews” for the next closest competitor.

The advertiser also said that consumer testimonials were provided by MyPurMist users who received no compensation.  The advertiser explained that it added the disclaimer “Individual Results May Vary” to clearly indicate that the testimonials were based on the individuals’ personal experience.  As for the physician testimonials, the advertiser informed NAD that it permanently discontinued the testimonials for all but one physician, Dr. William Berger, an advisor to Vapore.

Following its review of the advertiser’s evidence, NAD determined that the reviews upon which the challenged “5-Star” claim was based were, in large part, verified and found the sample size robust and representative.

However, NAD also determined that the potential of double-counting reviews could undermine the reliability of the reviews upon which the challenged claim is based. Further, NAD concluded that some reviews were too dated to be considered sufficiently reliable and noted that a star rating, standing alone, does not indicate why the rating was given.

NAD recommended that the advertiser discontinue the claim “More 5-star reviews than any other steam inhaler.”  However, NAD noted that nothing in this decision precludes the advertiser from making a more qualified stand-alone claim about its product being highly-rated.

Consumer testimonials, which appear on the advertiser’s website, credit the product with relieving sinus conditions, reducing or eliminating coughing and headaches due to allergies, relieving flu symptoms and improving sleep.

The advertiser failed to provide any competent and reliable scientific evidence demonstrating MyPurMist’s efficacy in relieving such conditions. Consequently, NAD recommended that the consumer testimonials be discontinued.

Finally, NAD determined that Dr. Berger was qualified to address on the efficacy of MyPurMist based on his professional background and expertise, but recommended that his testimonial be modified to avoid referring to competing steam inhalers.

Given the advertiser’s representation that all other expert testimonials were permanently discontinued, NAD did not review the claims made on their merits.  However, the voluntarily discontinued claims will be treated, for compliance purposes, as though NAD recommended their discontinuance and the advertiser agreed to comply.

Vapore, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “accepts NAD’s decision and will modify its advertising accordingly.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.