Action Line: Quantum Physics Negative Charge Laundry Balls Bogus

By World's own Service

I am trying to find information about the ``Earth Smart Laundry CD'' marketed by OneSource Worldwide Network Inc., Dallas. Its literature claims the CD works on ``quantum physics'' with a method called ``structured water technology.'' It is clear molded plastic, four inches in diameter, filled with a blue liquid. These are being sold through a network-marketing system for $100 each. -- J.W., Sand Springs.

The product resembles one circulating the Tulsa area last March called the ``Laundry Solution'' pushed by TradeNet Marketing Inc. of Dunedin, Fla. Both are part of a ``multilevel marketing scheme'' which costs people $500 to get into -- but the money to be made is not from product sales but from recruitment of other ``distributors.'' The ``quantum physics laundry orb'' doesn't actually work, meaning the recruitment plan is not ``multilevel marketing'' but simply a ``pyramid promotional scheme.''

Oklahoma state law defines ``pyramid promotional scheme'' as: ``any plan or operation by which a participant gives consideration (money or something of value) for the opportunity to receive compensation which is derived primarily from the person's introduction of other persons into the plan or operation rather than from the sale of goods, services or intangible property by the participant or other persons introduced into the plan or operation.''

The charting of a ``pyramid scheme'' looks a lot like the ``left and right tracking form'' distributed by TradeNet Marketing which features a ``Y- splitting, downward-branching, tracking form'' with spaces for the names of 62 ``new distributors'' in the recruiter's ``downline.''

Laundry Solution literature claims, that when placed in the wash, the plastic ball creates ``structured water that emits a negative charge through the walls of the container into your laundry water. This causes the water molecule cluster to disassociate, allowing much smaller individual water molecules to penetrate into the innermost part of the fabric.''

Earth Smart Laundry CD literature claims it ``activates your laundry water naturally through this proprietary process which structures water to mimic the cleaning effect of detergent -- without detergent, soap or chemical agents.''

What a washer load of hocus pocus.

Jessica Dyer, director of the Tulsa Better Business Bureau's advertising review unit, thinks so, too. She's been chasing the wild-bull laundry ball since August and reports the following:

There are 24 variations of the bogus laundry ball companies and they come in a variety of sizes and shapes, said Dyer. Some of the companies marketing them -- and their multi-level plans -- are American Freeway 100, ABI Laundry Ball, the Eurowash Scrub Ball, the OK Laundry Ball, The Laundry Master Ionic Laundry Ball, the Ionic 750-TM Laundry Ball, the Dynamic One Laundry Clean Ring, the Green Ice Laundry Egg, Allison Law Laundry Ball, CW-6 Laundry Ball, Clean-Tech Washing Stones, Turbo-Fluff Laundry Disks, Ceramic Washing Stones and the Enviro- Sphere.

The February 1995 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, in its report ``Laundry Detergents, Do Good Things Come in Small Packages?'' featured the side-bar ``Laundry Disks -- What, No Magic?'' Consumers Union bought ($59) and tested the ``Clean Power Activated Ceramics'' disk from a mail-order catalog. CU reported ``We don't think the disks are worth it. If they unleashed an `electromagnetic wave' in the wash, we sure couldn't tell from the results. The disks performed no better than plain water in our tests for stain removal and brightening, not even when we added a bit of detergent, as the instructions advised.''

``The Oregon Attorney General filed a cease and desist order against the `Laundry Solution Globe' and `Laundry Solution Super-Globe,' '' said Dyer, ``and the company has agreed to stop marketing the product in the state of Oregon. Operators have agreed to pay the Oregon Department of Justice $190,000 -- $65,000 of which will be used for consumer refunds ($75 per victim until gone). A third company -- American Technologies Group Inc., of California, will pay $20,000 for its role as supplier of TradeNet products.

``TradeNet is out of Dunedin, Florida, and its president is L.W. Cooper. After discovering TradeNet's marketing claims, the Oregon Department of Justice had the products tested by an independent lab. The tests showed the blue balls contained nothing more than water, blue dye and a foaming additive. The department concluded the products did not constitute or create a detergent substitute. The company also agreed to not market or sell any other products based on representations that products use scientific processes to achieve results unless the claims are fully substantiated by competent and reliable scientific testing,'' said Dyer.

``That has been the problem with all of these companies,'' she said. ``None of them have been able to substantiate their claims with results of competent scientific testing. Our concern with all of these is that WE don't have to prove that they don't work -- basically, they have to prove that they do work. All they have is glowing testimonials from people all over the nation -- people we can't locate.

``There is also a criminal charge -- violating the Nevada Trade Practices Act -- filed against the operator of multilevel marketing firm Dynamic One Worldwide Inc. of Las Vegas. The Nevada Attorney General's Office charged company operator Michael Manunu of `deceptive trade practice' -- claiming his `Laundry Clean Ring' uses something called `structured-water technology.' Advertising stated the water-filled ring `cleans laundry without the release of harmful chemicals by enabling the water in your washing machine to more effectively penetrate the fibers of your clothing and release dirt and odor trapped in them.'

``According to the complaint, the defendant was unable to substantiate claims made in advertising. He turned himself in Dec. 2, was arraigned Dec. 4 and the matter is set for preliminary hearing Feb. 3. The first offense is punishable by six months in jail and a fine of $1,000 and violators may be assessed a civil penalty of $2,500 per occurrence.''

Phil Mulkins, World Action Line Editor, answers questions submitted to 699-8888. Answers appear in the column, as space permits, and no personal replies can be given. Action Line pursues consumer complaints submitted with photocopies of documentation to Tulsa World Action Line, PO Box 1770, Tulsa OK 74102-1770.

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