By KATELYN HANDY SHRIBER
TradeNet Marketing Inc., a multi-level marketing firm which has been under investigation by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, has agreed to settle the matter out of court.
Under the agreement, TradeNet has paid the division a fine of $10,000.
TradeNet distributes the Laundry Solution, which is a plastic molded ball filled with blue water, that the company claims cleans your laundry without the aid of detergent.
Through the investigation, the division found TradeNet to be violating the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act through misrepresenting the benefits of its product. The division charged TradeNet in July with deceptive sales practices.
TradeNet was scheduled to go to court today.
The settlement also includes that TradeNet voluntarily cease from any business practice that violates the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act, and to publish a newspaper advertisement, which would information about a refund or exchange for consumers that bought the Laundry Solution before the settlement.
TradeNet was contacted but declined to comment.
TradeNet claims that the Laundry Solution cleans clothes through a confidentially patented process. According to TradeNet, this process works through electromagnetivety: dirt is positively charged and the Laundry Solution is negatively charged creating an electronic release of dirt. TradeNet claims that this is a chemical free process, thus safer for the environment.
Francine Giani, director of the Division of Consumer Protection became aware of the Laundry Solution through consumers who questioned the validity of TradeNet’s claims.
Giani sent the globes to be tested at the Physics Department at the University of Utah and a chemical lab in Salt Lake City, San Raphael Chemical Services.
Both found that there was nothing abnormal about the globe or its claims to electromagnetivity.
According to its report, San Raphael found that the claims regarding the notion that all dirt is positively charged has “no scientific merit or basis in fact.” The water was also found by the lab not to be negatively charged or “structured in any fashion different from ordinary water.”
The University of Utah also found that when the globe was underwater it could not become charged, either positively or negatively.
Despite these findings, Giani said that people have sworn that it works.
Mark Sumsion of Springville is a distributor and user of the Laundry Solution. Sumsion said that he cannot tell any difference between clothes cleaned with the Laundry Solution and clothes that are cleaned professionally.
Giani said that since clothes can get moderately clean just by using warm water, “Clothes will get as clean using the globe as throwing a bucket of golf balls into your washing machine.”
Sumsion said that to get clothes really clean using the globe a booster, available through the Laundry Solution, was needed, especially to keep whites bright.
According to Giani, people who have used the Laundry Solution have been upset at the labs’ findings.
“People have been upset about us taking this stand, I apologize to people for being believers. All I am telling you is what the experts say. We don’t want (TradeNet) to misrepresent what the ball does.”
The division is also investigating another TradeNet product, the Super Globe. This globe comes with an organic laundry aid and supposedly works in the same way as the Laundry Solution.
Giani said that if the Super Globe does not work like the company purports, then the division will make the public aware of the false claims.