"If you are going to make certain claims, you have to be able to back that up," says attorney Keith Keogh. "This is a high-end vacuum. Consumers were not spending $2 dollars for a germ-free sponge. This is a large amount of money for a vacuum from a long-standing, well-known company."
Oreck TV ads and infomercials claiming that consumers could say "goodbye to many bacteria, viruses, germs and mold" drew fire from competitors that expressed doubt about the company's claim that its patented, ultra-violet light technology could actually do what Oreck claimed.
In April 2011, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as part of its effort to crack down on false and misleading claims in advertising, investigated and ordered Oreck to cease making claims that the Oreck Halo could kill germs, and fined the company $750,000.
By its own admission, the FTC says fines "are a drop in the bucket" and do not always deter companies from making false and misleading claims. In an interview with ABC News, FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz said the rules for companies are simple. "Make truthful claims, don't make misleading claims and you better be able to substantiate those claims," he said.
"I would echo that comment," says Keith Keogh. "If there's a message in this class action that would be it."
Keith Keogh is a graduate of the Loyola University Chicago School of Law and is a partner in Keogh Law. He has represented hundreds of clients in consumer class-action lawsuits. Keogh was also named a Super Lawyers Rising Star in 2008, 2009 and 2010, for providing effective and efficient solutions for clients.