Tested Green Settles with Federal Trade Commission Over Environmental Certifications Misrepresentations

Tested Green Settles with Federal Trade Commission Over Environmental Certifications Misrepresentations

Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it reached an agreement with Tested Green settling allegations that the company sold worthless environmental certifications and falsely represented that its certifications were endorsed by independent firms when the firms were actually owned by Tested Green. This settlement is another example of the FTC’s continuing focus on green marketing claims, coming only a few months after the FTC announced its proposed revisions to the Green Guides.

According to the FTC, Tested Green advertised, marketed, and sold environmental certifications, but never tested any of the companies it provided with certifications. Tested Green would allegedly certify any company willing to pay a fee of either $189.95 for a “Rapid” certification or $549.95 for a “Pro” certification. The FTC claimed that Tested Green violated the FTC Act by providing the means to deceive consumers.

In addition, according to the FTC, Tested Green deceived consumers by citing its endorsements from the National Green Business Association and the National Association of Government Contractors, implying that these were independent organizations when, in fact, both are owned and operated by Tested Green.

The proposed settlement order prohibits Tested Green and its owner from misrepresenting that:

  an outside party has evaluated a product, service, package, or program based on its environmental attributes;

  that they have or a third party has the expertise to evaluate the environmental benefits or attributes of a product, service, package, or program;

  the number of certifications they have issued; and

  that a product, package, certification, service, package, or program is endorsed by any person or organization.

The proposed settlement order also bars Tested Green and its owner from making any representations about a user or endorser unless they clearly and prominently disclose any connection they have with the endorser if one exists.

The proposed settlement order will be subject to public comment for 30 days, until February 11, 2011, at which point the FTC will decide whether to make it final. Written comments can be sent to: FTC, Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments can also be filed electronically here.

The FTC’s press release, FTC Settlement Ends "Tested Green" Certifications That Were Neither Tested Nor Green.

If you have any questions about the FTC’s announcement, please contact Jason Kessler at (212) 705-4871 or jkessler@fkks.com, Jeffrey A. Greenbaum at (212) 826-5525 or jgreenbaum@fkks.com, Terri J. Seligman at (212) 826-5580 or tseligman@fkks.com, or any other member of the Frankfurt Kurnit Advertising Group.

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