Starting this week more than 27,000 consumers who purchased certain vacuum cleaners and air purifiers made by Oreck will be getting checks for $25 from the Federal Trade Commission under an agreement between the government and the manufacturer. Oreck claimed its Halo vacuum and ProShield Plus air purifier could reduce the risk of flu and other illnesses, and eliminate virtually all common germs and allergens. Last year Oreck agreed to pay the FTC a $750,000 fine.
Some 27,340 checks totaling $698,000 are being mailed to consumers who were identified through sales records provided by Oreck. The funds come from a settlement reached last year between the FTC and Oreck. Under the agreement, Oreck is also barred from making any of the allegedly deceptive claims challenged by the agency unless it has competent and reliable scientific evidence to support the claims.
After Oreck first introduced the Halo and ProShield Plus, vacuum maker Dyson initiated a challenge to its claims with the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau in 2009. Oreck declined to have its advertising claims reviewed for truthfulness and accuracy, so the NAD referred the matter to the FTC.
Although these models are no longer in our Ratings, Consumer Reports previously tested both the Halo UVX (now discontinued) and Oreck Halo upright. We operated under the premise that a vacuum need not kill pests as long as it removes them from the home, and tested these vacuums the same way we test all models. The ProShield Plus was in our air purifier Ratings, where it performed poorly.
If you purchased the Oreck Halo vacuum you'll get $25, and if you bought the Oreck ProShield Plus air cleaner you'll get a few cents less, about $24.65. Checks must be cashed within 60 days. For more information, call 877-772-6154 or visit FTC.gov/refunds.