CHICAGO (CN) - In a scathing opinion, Judge Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit upheld a $16 million judgment against the makers of the allegedly therapeutic Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet, saying their claims about how the product works - Q-Rays, ionization, enhanced bio-energy flow - are "blather."
"Defendants might as well have said: 'Beneficent creatures from the 17th Dimension use this bracelet as a beacon to locate people who need pain relief, and whisk them off to their homeworld every night to provide help in ways unknown to our science.'"
The Federal Trade Commission filed a fraud lawsuit accusing Q-T, Q-Ray, Bio-Metal and CEO Que Te Park of duping consumers into shelling out $200 for a worthless trinket that Wired magazine listed in its top 10 Snake-Oil Gadgets.
Defendants touted the bracelet as a miraculous cure for chronic pain that can "enhance the flow of bio-energy" and "balance the flow of positive and negative energies." That's all bunk, Easterbrook said, adding that "every other claim made about the mechanism of the bracelet's therapeutic effect likewise is techno-babble."
The bracelet is neither ionized nor capable of emitting Q-Rays, which don't exist, and the "gold" and "silver" versions are made of brass.
Defendants tried to create repeat customers by claiming the therapeutic effect wears off in a couple of years. They also claimed the bracelet has a "memory" that lets only the original wearer experience its purported benefits.
"Park insists that he believed the representations to be accurate (or at least thought them to be such transparent prattle that they could not be false), but the district court found otherwise - and sensibly," the circuit concluded.
Defendants must disgorge $16 million for the FTC to distribute to bilked bracelet buyers. See ruling.
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