News and comment....

James Randi --- Wizard (
16 Nov 1997 07:05:05 -0000


DOJ, Financial Fraud Section Hot Case of the Month

November 12, 1997

Attorney General Warns Laundry Globe Distributors To Stop Selling
Products In Oregon

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced that two companies
responsible for producing and marketing a supposed alternative to
laundry detergent known as The Laundry Solution, Globe or SuperGlobe
will pay $190,000 to the Department of Justice and no longer will
market the products in Oregon. Myers also warned individual
distributors in Oregon to stop selling the products immediately.
Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance, which admit no
law violations, are two Florida corporations, TradeNet Marketing,
Inc. and TOP Marketing Business Consulting, Inc. TradeNet produced the
products and TOP marketed them. Also named are TradeNet President
L.W. Cooper of Palm Harbor, Florida and TOP Marketing President Erwin
Annau of Clearwater, Florida. The assurances were filed today in
Marion County Circuit Court. A third Assurance, naming American
Technologies Group, Inc. (ATG), of Monrovia, California, also was
filed today in Marion County. ATG sold some product components to
"It is not easy for consumers to evaluate marketing claims
based on supposed new scientific discoveries," Myers said. " As a
result, it is often difficult to tell the latest technological
advancement from the latest scam. My office became involved because
these products were being marketed aggressively and their distributors
were making improbable claims."
The Laundry Solution, also known as the "Blue Ball," consists
of a plastic sphere containing a blue liquid. The balls are sold
through local distributors who purchase them from TradeNet. In
marketing the products, the companies first claimed that the sphere
used specially treated "structured water" to emit a negative charge
through the walls of the sphere. The companies further stated that
when the sphere is used in a washing machine, the negative charge
cleans clothes and eliminates the need for detergent. The companies
later revised these claims in brochures distributed with the
products. The printed information stated that the spheres now
contained "Ie (pronounced I-sub-E) Crystals" that, again, were
supposed to enable the globes to clean clothes. The "globes" later
were replaced by "SuperGlobes" that were supposed to be used with an
additive that contained detergent.
Upon hearing the marketing claims, the Department of Justice
obtained the various products and had them tested by a qualified,
independent laboratory. Results of the tests indicated that the water
in the spheres had no special characteristics. The "globe products"
essentially contain nothing more than water, blue dye and a foaming
additive contained within an impermeable plastic shell. The Department
therefore concluded that the products do not constitute nor create a
detergent substitute.
In addition to agreeing not to market The Laundry Solution nor
related products in Oregon, TradeNet and TOP Marketing agree not to
market nor sell any other products based on representations that the
products use a scientific process to achieve results, unless the
claims are fully substantiated by competent and reliable scientific
testing. TradeNet and TOP Marketing also agreed to stop marketing "The
Force," a product they claimed would improve automotive engine
Of the $190,000 obtained by the Department of Justice, $65,000
will be used for restitution to consumers and $125,000 will fund
future consumer protection and education activities. In addition, ATG
agrees under the terms of its Assurance to add $20,000 to the
restitution fund.
Restitution to Oregonians will be paid by the Department of
Justice on a first come, first served basis and will be limited to $75
per person, the amount most people paid for the "blue ball." To
receive restitution, the Department must receive proof of purchase
from consumers no later than January 12, 1998. Proof of purchase
consists of any one of the following: a receipt, a canceled check, the
actual product, or an affidavit. Consumers Section, Oregon Department
of Justice, 1162 Court Street NE, Salem, 97310E Consumers also may
deliver proof of purchase or the products in person to the Financial
Fraud offices on the first floor of the Robertson Building at 1215
State Street NE (corner of State and 12th streets) in Salem.
Consumers wanting more information on franchises, business
opportunities, work-at-home schemes, multi-levels and pyramids can
call the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 or
(503) 229-5576 (Portland only) between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to noon,
Monday through Friday. Information on these settlements and general
consumer protection in Oregon also can be accessed on the Department
of Justice Web-Page (

Okay. It's a positive move. Applause. But the DOJ, in its
nearsighted approach, had the lab test the balls only to see if the
language used to describe the "science" behind the useless product,
was valid. Of course it's not valid! THE TEST SHOULD HAVE CONSISTED
The public isn't interested in whether the science is valid, only if
the damn things really work! The test would have been quick, cheap,
and definitive -- and VERY convincing to the victims of the scams.
Now, the "inventors" can start bleating that their discovery is not
subject to regular scientific analysis or evaluation. An actual
performance test would have gotten around that alibi. Common sense,
folks. Try some of it!


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