FTC Goes After Marketers Hawking Natural Remedies For Bed Bug & Head Lice Problems

If you’ve ever had bed bugs or known anyone who’s endured an infestation, you know what a nightmarishly awful, stressful and expensive problem it can be. That’s why the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t want two companies to prey on consumer distress by offering up natural remedies for bedbugs and head lice if they’re not really that effective at getting rid of the critters.

The FTC filed deceptive advertising charges against the two companies for hawking things like cedar, cinnamon, lemon grass, peppermint and clove oil in their products to prevent and destroy infestations. RMB Group LLC is on the hook for charges related to its “Rest Easy” bed bug products, while Cedarcide Industries, Inc. is being challenged for how it markets its “Best Yet!” bed bug and head lice products.

The Environmental Protection agency says bed bugs have been steadily freaking out consumers in recent years, partly due to the cost people have to bear when trying to get rid of them. Some unfamiliar with how truly difficult it is to rid a dwelling of the pests could be swayed by products’ promises of an easy fix. Just spray a little natural oil and poof! No more problem — but it ain’t that easy.

The FTC is charging both marketing companies for deceptive advertising, and Cedarcide, the makers of”Best Yet!” are also in trouble for claiming that the product is endorsed by the federal government.

In a radio ad, the company claims: “Best Yet was developed at the request of the USDA for our military, as a solution for killing sand fleas. But guess what, it’s equally deadly to bed bugs, larvae and eggs.”

Rest Easy is marketed for use mainly for consumers who are staying in hotel rooms, as a safeguard against catching bed bugs while away from home. The FTC’s complaint says the company is making unsupported claims that the product can kill and repel bed bugs by creating a barrier that protects the area around a bed.

The companies will either have to provide scientific evidence that their products do what they say or stop marketing them as they have been.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.