City Attorney invokes authority under Unfair Competition Law in seeking evidence for marketing claims by gender prediction test sold in S.F.
SAN FRANCISCO (March 10, 2010) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today invoked his legal authority under California’s Unfair Competition Law to demand substantiation for advertising claims by Intelligender LLC that its in-home fetal gender prediction product, which is sold and marketed in San Francisco, is “totally safe” and over 90 percent accurate.
“California law empowers public sector attorneys to seek proof for marketing claims for products sold to the consumers they’re responsible to protect,” said Herrera. “Intelligender is a product that came to our attention in which some of the advertised claims are dubious, and for which supporting evidence is notably unavailable to potential customers. Women and families interested in purchasing products like this are entitled to see the evidence that will enable them to be better informed consumers.”
According to Herrera’s letter to the Plano, Tex.-based manufacturer:
“The IntelliGender Test purports to accurately identify the gender of a fetus as early as 10 weeks after pregnancy, and well before ultrasound confirmation of fetal gender is available to expectant mothers. However, according to online reviews of your product, it appears that your advertising claim that the IntelliGender Test is ‘over 90% accurate’ is questionable. Additionally, as your product packaging does not identify the contents of the IntelliGender Test, there are concerns about the safety and proper means of disposal of the Test.
“The San Francisco City Attorney hereby requests that you provide evidence of the facts supporting the advertising claims of IntelliGender listed below, pursuant to California Business and Professions Code §17508, which empowers city attorneys to request substantiation of purportedly fact-based advertising claims. For all claims listed below indicating that scientific methods were utilized, please include full reports of experiments, methods, results, and outcomes, in addition to the CVs and biographies of the clinicians retained to perform these trials and tests.”
Herrera asked that Intelligender provide documentation responsive to his request by the end of the month, noting that we would consider seeking “an immediate termination or modification of the claim,” as state law provides, if the information were not forthcoming.