FTC busts gas enhancer for false advertising


The Hydro-Assist Fuel Cell was supposed to turn water into gas! The so-called gas water would be five times more potent than regular gasoline. However, the Federal Trade Commission isn’t buying what the producers of HAFC were selling, and has settled to bring the operation to a halt, with a $2.7M mostly-suspended judgement against the company.

The purveyors of the product were listed by the FTC as Dennis Lee, Dutchman Enterprises LLC, and United Community Services of America Inc., doing business as UCSA Dealers Group LLC.

The FTC listed a number of what it considered to be outrageous claims made about the product – it was said to increase MPG from 35 to 85 for one car, from 33 to 121 for another and was said to be able to double the mileage of an average SUV.

FTC said pseudo-science was a staple of the advertising, which used magazines, the internet and infomercials distributed on the internet to make the company’s claims. In fact, the FTC said many of the claims were either impossible or would actually have an adverse rather than positive affect on MPG.

The defendants are allowed to sell their products as long as they refrain from making unsubstantiated claims, and they must inform the FTC as to the identities of any customers. “In addition,” noted FTC, “the order imposes a judgment of more than $2.7 million against the defendants, all but $230,356 of which will be suspended when they have surrendered frozen assets. The full judgment will become due immediately if the defendants are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.”

RBR-TVBR observation: As we have noted in the past, the advertiser, not the venue upon which the advertising is place, is liable for FTC action most of the time. However, you will be doing your audience a service if you weed out hucksters and keep them off of your airspace. We are glad that broadcasters had no part in this proceeding.