FTC Acts to Stop Deceptive Insulation and Energy-Savings Claims

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
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The Federal Trade Commission sued four companies that sell paint products used to coat buildings and homes, alleging that they deceived consumers about their products’ insulation and energy-savings capabilities.

In complaints filed in federal court, the FTC charged that the companies falsely overstated the R-value ratings of the coatings, making deceptive statements about heat flow and insulating power.

“Companies touting the energy-saving properties of their products must have scientific support for their claims,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When they don’t, the FTC will step in to make sure they do.”

A product’s R-value is a measure of its resistance to heat flow: the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Using R-value and other product information, consumers can improve the energy efficiency of their homes by purchasing the right products to meet their energy-saving needs.

The FTC filed complaints against the following four companies:

Superior Products International II, Inc. The FTC’s complaint against the Kansas-based Superior Products and its officer, J.E. Pritchett, alleges that they market their Super Therm and Sunshield roof and wall coatings using deceptive energy-savings and R-value claims. Specifically, the complaint states the defendants falsely claim that the products provide significant energy savings of “between 40% and 70%” for consumers when applied to a home or other building. In addition, the FTC contends, while the defendants claim that the products have an R-value (or equivalency) of R-19, they are unable to substantiate these claims, and the coatings actually have R-values of significantly less than one.

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SuperTherm, Inc. The FTC’s complaint against the Arizona-based SuperTherm, and its officers, Roberto and Susana Guerra, alleges that they market MultiCeramics Insulation coating using deceptive R-value claims, falsely stating that the product provides the equivalent of R-19 insulation. The Commission alleges, however, that the defendants are unable to substantiate these claims, and that MultiCeramics Insulation actually has an R-value of less than one.

SPM Thermo-Shield, Inc. The FTC’s complaint against the Florida-based SPM Thermo-Shield, and its officers, Peter and George Spiska, alleges that they deceptively market their Thermo-Shield Roof Coat, Thermo-Shield Exterior Wall Coating, and Thermo-Shield Interior Wall Coating as have R-values of R-22 and R-21, and that they provide significant energy savings for consumers when applied to homes or other buildings. The complaint states these R-value claims are false, however, and that the company’s coatings actually have R-values that are lower than one. Moreover, defendants have no substantiation for their energy-savings claims.

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F & G International Group Holdings, LLC and FG International, LLC. The FTC’s complaint against the Georgia-based F&G and FG, and their shared officer, J. Glenn Davis, alleges that they market their FGI-4440 Insulation Coating using deceptive R-value claims. Specifically, while the defendants claim that FGI-4440 provides “an equivalent R-value greater than 30,” they cannot substantiate the claims, and FGI-4440 has an actual R-value of less than one. The FTC also alleges that the defendants falsely claim that testing supports their R-value claims for FGI-4440.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file each complaint was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter not participating. The FTC filed the complaint against the Superior Products defendants in the U.S. District Court of the District of Kansas; the complaint against the SuperTherm defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona; the complaint the SMP Thermo-Shield defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida; and the complaint against the F & G International Group defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District for the Southern District of Georgia.

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