BBB National Programs Archive
Thane International, Inc. Participates In ERSP Self-Regulatory Forum
New York, NY – June 30, 2005 – The Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), the electronic direct-response industry’s self-regulatory forum supervised by the National Advertising Review Council (NARC), announced that Thane International, Inc., marketers for the tooth whitening product, Klear Action Whitening System, has substantiated safety and quantified shade claims made in its direct response advertising and also recommended that the marketer modify other core claims concerning comparisons to dentist office products and its receipt of pre-market notification. Concerns about the truth and accuracy of the marketer’s claims came to the attention of ERSP from its ongoing monitoring program.
In the inquiry for the Klear Action Whitening System, ERSP requested that the marketer provide substantiation for: general performance claims (i.e., “in under 45 minutes…6 shades lighter.”); establishment claims (i.e., “Clinically proven, without any tooth sensitivity, to get teeth up to six shades whiter in under an hour.”); comparative market claims (i.e., “Dentist office results without going to the dentist…up to six shades lighter or more, with no sensitivity, in under an hour, at a fraction of the cost.”) and safety claims (i.e., “completely safe.”).
ERSP determined that Thane, provided a reasonable basis for its quantified, 5 shade improvement claim, and it was determined that an “up to 6 shade improvement” claim was appropriate. Moreover, questions of product safety were adequately addressed by the voluntary modifications made by Thane to clarify zero tooth sensitivity, rather than zero sensitivity, the marketer’s acquisition of the 510k pre-market notification by the FDA, and the use of the accepted 11% concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the product.
However, ERSP determined that the number of product applications required to achieve the level of shade improvement claimed in the advertisement should be disclosed to consumers and that this clarification would also satisfy ERSP’s concern over the comparative speed claims communicated by the infomercial. While ERSP agreed with Thane that the Klear Action uses the “same type of professional light treatment” that is used in dental offices it was not persuaded that claims pertaining to the “same type of whitening agent” as professionally administered products would be understood as clearly. Finally, ERSP marketer’s independent actions to modify the claims that its product had been “approved” by the FDA.
In response to ERSP’s decision, Thane International, Inc responded it is was “… pleased that ERSP concluded that a substantial number of the claims investigated by the organization, including the claim, “Clinically proven wit hout any tooth sensitivity, to get teeth up to six shades whiter in under an hour were adequately substantiated…” and while respectfully disagreeing with the standard employed by ERSP in interpreting claims and the conclusions of ERSP it nevertheless agreed to “…take ERSP’s recommendations into consideration and appropriately modify its advertising.”