Q-Ray makers ordered to pay $16M in refunds to consumers
The makers of the Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet have been ordered to turn over $16 million US in profits, to be paid out in refunds to consumers for false advertising, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Monday.
U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Easterbrook upheld a 2006 district court ruling ordering the marketers of the bracelet, branded as a pain reliever for chronic pain, to surrender $16 million US in net profits. The Illinois-based Q-Ray Co. and its owner, Que Te Park, must pay up to $87 million in refunds to consumers, Easterbrook said in his decision, issued Jan. 3.
The court said Q-Ray's claims about how the bracelets worked through "enhancing the flow of bio-energy" were nonsense.
"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 home world every night to provide help in ways unknown to our science," he wrote in his decision.
The court also said the company misled consumers who purchased the bracelet online, burying information about a shorter return period of 10 days for online purchases as compared with the 30-day refund promised in the infomercial.
Last November, CBC's Marketplace took a Q-Ray bracelet to an electron microscopy lab for analysis. Test results showed the bracelet was not ionized.
The FTC said Q-Ray is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Consumers who purchased a Q-Ray bracelet between Jan. 1, 2000, and June 30, 2003, should call the FTC Q-Ray Consumer Hotline at 202-326-2063 to see whether they are eligible for a refund.