We aren’t surprised that Federal Trade Commission slapped Oreck on the wrist for making deceptive claims about one of its vacuum cleaners and one of its air purifiers. That’s because we raised concerns about the efficacy of the technology in one of those products five years ago.
FTC ruled May 21 that Oreck can’t claim that the Halo upright vacuum cleaner and ProShield Plus air purifier “virtually eliminate” allergens and germs. FTC also says Oreck’s claims that the products greatly reduce the risk of flu or other airborne illnesses are exaggerations, because no independent scientific evidence supports the claims.
Customers who purchased Oreck’s Halo vacuum cleaner will receive a $25 refund, and consumers who purchased the ProShield Plus air purifier will get a $24.65 refund. Oreck still manufactures the ProShield Plus air purifier, but the company discontinued the Halo vacuum in early 2011, according to John Arena, who is general counsel for Oreck.
Consumers Digest first raised questions about the efficacy of the ultraviolet (UV)-lighting technology that’s used on Halo vacuum cleaners in “World-Class Suck Ups,” in the September/October 2007 issue. We noted that no home-based tests support claims that the original manufacturer made that the type of UV light that’s on Halo models would kill enough unwanted micro-organisms to make your floors or rugs germ-free.
In addition, we raised questions about the germ-killing claims that are made by manufacturers of the latest air purifiers in “Clearing the Air: Putting the Latest Air Purifiers & Humidifiers Under the Microscope,” in the January/February 2011 issue.