Summary of Action

TINA.org received several complaints from consumers about Vapex, a Utah-based company that sells e-cigarettes. Prompted by these reader complaints, TINA.org launched an investigation.

The investigation found four false advertising tactics on various websites linked to Vapex, including false claims that consumers can receive a “Free Trial’’ offer, fake testimonials, assertions of winning a 2013 taste test contest that doesn’t exist, and price comparisons that show e-cigarettes are cheaper than tobacco cigarettes without any reliable data to support it.

On July 8, 2014, TINA.org notified Vapex of its findings and told the company that it would file a complaint with the FTC and Utah Attorney General if Vapex did not cease and desist its deceptive advertising practices by July 16, 2014.  The company did not respond or remove the deceptive marketing tactics from its websites so, on July 17, 2014, TINA.org went forward with its complaint letters to the federal and state agencies.

On August 27, 2014, the Utah Department of Commerce announced that it was citing Vapex LLC, as well as Sinless Vapor LLC, and OZN Web LLC, for multiple violations of the Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act and the Utah Telephone Fraud Prevention Act, finding, among other things, that the companies engaged in deceptive advertising.  Though the companies were fined $1.1 million and many of the websites used to sell the e-cigarettes have been disabled, the Utah Department of Commerce settled the actions and agreed to collect a total of $31,150 in penalties — 2% of the original fine amounts.

On February 24, 2015, after investigating Vapex, LLC, the FTC informed the company that it would not be recommending enforcement because the company is no longer in business.

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