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Federal Trade Commission Complaint Filed Against PhoneSoap LLC for Deceptive Product Claims
[January 09, 2019]

Federal Trade Commission Complaint Filed Against PhoneSoap LLC for Deceptive Product Claims


BUFFALO, N.Y., Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CleanSlate UV, an infection control company with offices in Toronto, ON and Buffalo, NY has filed a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) complaint against PhoneSoap LLC for alleged deceptive marketing claims regarding the company's Med+ "disinfection" technology. According to the complaint, PhoneSoap LLC has repeatedly made improperly substantiated claims regarding the performance and efficacy of its Med+ Ultraviolet (UVC) disinfection product to potential customers including hospital systems.

"Our company takes no joy in filing this complaint; however, we feel this is necessary to protect the integrity of an emerging product category. UV light is a powerful tool for sanitizing cell phones, tablets and other devices. As consumers evaluate solutions for trial or purchase, they must be given accurate information that is line with a product's instructions for use," said Taylor Mann, CEO of CleanSlate UV. "Otherwise there is a risk that patients, visitors or staff members will be exposed to infection from a mobile device that they assumed was properly sanitized."

CleanSlate UV first became aware of the claims by PhoneSoap during the launch of the Med+ device at the 2018 APIC conference in Minneapolis, MN. Materials containing these claims were circulated to attendees at the show and for several months thereafter. Examples of these claims include:

  • 6-log (99.9999%) reduction of bacteria
  • 30-second cycle time to eliminate bacteria, fungus and virus
  • 6-log reduction in Pseudomonas aeruginose, Staphylococcus aures, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella-Enterobacter and mycobacterium.

In September 2018, CleanSlate UV came into possession of documentation provided by PhoneSoap to potential customers, causing Clean Slate UV to question PhoneSoap's efficacy claims, testing methods, and the product's marketed instructions for use.

Among other issues, the efficacy testing provided to potential clients did not include 'soiling,' thereby assuming a phone or tablet will be pre-cleaned befoe every use. Additionally, testing was conducted using a 45-second cycle, while the product is marketed to have a 30-second cycle. Finally, the bacteria used in their testing does not align with the specific pathogens claimed in their materials. The materials also did not contain any text that made clear these claims were pending further testing using standardized methods and protocols.



As a result, CleanSlate UV CEO Taylor Mann sent a letter to the CEO of PhoneSoap, Wesley LaPorte, outlining these concerns and requesting immediate action by PhoneSoap to ensure the integrity of product marketing within the category.

PhoneSoap removed the claims from their website but continued to include them in private marketing communications to prospective clients. In a December 7, 2018 letter from PhoneSoap's legal counsel, they claimed to have ceased making these claims. However, marketing materials circulated by a PhoneSoap representative to prospective clients as recently as January 3, 2019 still contained the same unsubstantiated claims.


"Device hygiene is a growing challenge that demands good science. Academic studies have shown that mobile device contamination is a major issue in hospitals; these concerns extend to food processing and biotech facilities. Staff and visitors wash their hands and then immediately touch a dirty phone or tablet," continued Mr. Mann. "Chemical wipes are the default solution in hospitals, but they aren't well suited to mobile devices. As UV solutions look to replace chemical wipes, we must use testing standards that gives a clear comparison and aligns with a products' instructions for use. The testing done by PhoneSoap on their Med+ device meets neither of these criteria."

"CleanSlate UV and PhoneSoap share a common mission to increase staff and patient safety by eliminating bacteria on mobile devices" concluded Mann. "We believe PhoneSoap took these actions in a haste to market their product, not out of malice. What's vital is that it be corrected, so that hospital systems and other consumers continue to maintain a high-level of trust in UV-C providers."

CleanSlate UV hopes that the FTC will quickly and thoroughly investigate this complaint.

Additionally, CleanSlate UV hopes that PhoneSoap will cease making unsubstantiated claims until such a time that proper testing is completed. It also urges PhoneSoap to make a thorough effort to contact potential clients in possession of previous materials to ensure they don't rely on those claims for evaluation, budgeting or future purchase decisions.

About CleanSlate UV

Limestone Labs Limited (o/a CleanSlate UV) was founded in 2014 to tackle the growing challenge of mobile device hygiene in healthcare, food and biotech facilities. The company has offices in Buffalo, NY and Toronto, ON. The company's flagship product, The CleanSlate UV sanitizer, debuted in August 2017 and allows hospital staff, visitors and patients to rapidly sanitize multiple devices in just 30 seconds. The product has undergone 3rd-party testing using the ASTM E1153 standard, has been the subject of multiple facility-led case studies, and has been used in multiple academic studies (publish dates forthcoming).

History of CleanSlate UV FTC Complaint

  • CleanSlate UV receives documentation, provided by PhoneSoap LLC to potential customers, causing Clean Slate UV to question PhoneSoap's efficacy claims, testing methods, and the product's marketed instructions for use. The materials also did not contain any text that made clear these claims were pending further testing using standardized methods and protocols.
     
  • CleanSlate UV CEO Taylor Mann sends signed letter (via email) to co-founder and CEO of PhoneSoap LLC, Wesley LaPorte, outlining these concerns.
     
  • Mr. LaPorte acknowledges letter and promises to "soften the language on their [company] website". The claims were then publicly modified on the PhoneSoap LLC North American site. However, it was subsequently discovered that PhoneSoap LLC continued to circulate marketing materials to potential customers/clients that still contained the allegedly improperly substantiated efficacy claims.
     
  • CleanSlate UV's legal counsel sends formal Cease and Desist letter to PhoneSoap LLC.
     
  • PhoneSoap LLC continued to make assurance that the aforementioned efficacy claims were no longer being included in marketing materials.

Media Contact: Taylor Mann
P: 1 (716) 206-3377
E: t.mann@cleanslateuv.com

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/federal-trade-commission-complaint-filed-against-phonesoap-llc-for-deceptive-product-claims-300775734.html

SOURCE CleanSlate UV


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