DALLAS — Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has obtained a temporary restraining order that shut down a California company’s efforts to market a “cheap gas” product.
According to the state’s lawsuit, the defendants’unlawful televised marketing campaign targeted Hispanic customers.
Media Dime Marketing LLC and its co-owners, Wendy Diaz and Hilda Mejia, are not registered to conduct business in the state of Texas. Yet they purchased advertising time and aired Spanish infomercials in the Dallas and Houston media markets. Court documents filed by the state indicate that the defendants marketed a fraudulent product called “cheap gas,” which they claimed would save customers money on fuel.
The magnetic device, also advertised as an “MPG Device,” costs $169 for one item and $229 for two.
The defendants’ advertisements assured customers that the product, which is essentially a small magnetic clip encased in soft foam and fastened to an under-the-hood fuel line, is scientifically proven to increase fuel efficiency and therefore save customers money. They claimed a “magnetic resonance” process occurred while gasoline flowed through the fuel lines past the magnetic field, purportedly “making the gasoline more efficient.” The defendants also advertised that the product protects the environment by reducing “90 percent of the toxic gas emissions.” Advertisements also claimed that the product increased vehicles’ engine lives by 30 percent.
According to Dr. Ronald Matthews of the University of Texas School of Engineering, an expert retained by the Office of the Attorney General, there is no scientific basis for the defendants’ claims. Both the expert’s study and previous academic studies indicate that gasoline is not affected by a magnetic field. As a result, the studies concluded, the defendants’ device does not increase fuel efficiency.
The defendants also falsely claim that the MPG Device was installed on all 2007 and 2008 Kia Spectra and Ford Focus vehicles.
Citing the defendants’ false and unlawful claims about their product, the Attorney General charged the defendants with violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The state’s enforcement action seeks civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of this law. Because the defendants transacted business in Texas without a certificate of authority from the Secretary of State, the state’s enforcement action seeks unpaid franchise taxes that would have accrued if the defendants were properly registered.