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FTC settles pain relief device case for $4 million

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If you live with chronic and severe pain, over-the-counter devices that promise powerful, drug-free relief can be tempting, even if they’re costly. But, before you invest in products that promise life-changing results, read about the FTC’s $4 million settlement with the marketers of a device known as Quell.
 
Quell is a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device. TENS devices use electrodes to deliver low-voltage electrical currents through the skin and may relieve minor pain at the site where they’re applied.
 
According to the FTC, Quell’s ads claimed it could do much more. The ads said that Quell — when worn as directed, on the upper calf, just below the knee — caused the release of “natural pain blockers,” resulting in pain relief throughout the body from serious conditions like osteoarthritis, nerve damage, sciatica, shingles, and fibromyalgia.
 
The problem, according to the FTC: NeuroMetrix, Inc., the company behind Quell, and company founder and CEO Shai Gozani, didn’t have scientific evidence to back up their pain relief claims. The FTC says the defendants added to the deception by claiming that Quell was “clinically proven” to deliver widespread chronic pain relief and “cleared” by the FDA for that purpose. Those claims, the FTC says, were flat-out false.
 
The result, according to the FTC: people shelled out up to $299 for Quell devices, plus $30 for a one-month supply of replacement electrodes.
 
Under the settlement, the defendants must pay the Commission $4 million, which will be returned to Quell customers. The settlement also bars the defendants from claiming that Quell or any other device can relieve chronic or severe pain throughout the body — or has any other health benefit – unless they have scientific proof.
 
Before you try an expensive health product that promises miraculous results, talk with your doctor or other healthcare professional.
 
 
 
 
Blog Topics: 
Health & Fitness

Comments

The company selling phony pain relief had to refund 4 million dollars, great! But how many units did they sell at 299 dollars and is anyone going to jail?

Correct! - $4 million was a slap on a single finger, not even the wrist. The company must have made MILLIONS profit even after the penalty and think about worldwide sales? FTC is the US.

I got $51 back from FTC which is 17% of $300.00. Maybe the $4 million is 17% of Quell's profit or $23,500,000. I could live on that. :-)

I knew what a TENS unit was as I had also had one but Quell had a unique & specific approach so it seemed POSSIBLE and of course, pain sufferers will try more things anyway.

The "good news" for me was I knew not to buy more supplies until I got some positive results from the first included set.

I doubt it, and the cost to all of us is tripe - about $900 when you add in the ridiculous cost of electrodes - so getting back $50 while better then nothing, certainly can’t be considered a refund.

The light color of the print on your cite is difficult for seniors like me to read. My request is that you use black instead of the gray on this web page. Please help us to read the information without difficult or eye strain. You offer valuable information and it should also be easy to read. Thanks

I agree. No gray text.

I finally quit using after I saw no noticeable difference in pain relief. This is after many electrodes and two units (one an upgrade). The concept sounded good but little studies supporting their claims. What a shame.

How do I find out if I'm eligible for refund if I've previously purchased the Quell device.

I wonder the same thing as above.

I purchased one and it did not work. I still have it but no paperwork.

I returned the device within 30 days. I knew it didn't work, but I was desperate to try anything! I just received an email about a refund of $55.10
I too had bought 30 days worth of electrodes. What a scam even doctors are out rip-off people! No shame anymore these days!

Like the post above, I returned mine within 30 days because it wasn’t helping. Quell told me it could take months to become effective but the first 30 days did nothing so I opted to return. I just received $55.10 refunded to my Paypal account.

My life was changed when I started using Quell, because I arranged my day around wearing the device according to guidelines issued. I used it for several months and, according to guidelines, was patient as I was told relief might take “several weeks” to come. Relief never came and I was (am) hugely disappointed after spending the money requested, and of course I purchased extra electrodes. I thought it was just a fluke that I was not helped and that most people are. And another huge point, this device was talked up in AARP magazine. THAT alone is a big disappointment. If I can’t trust information in AARP? It was an article, NOT an ad.

I also wanted to know who to contact.

How do I find out if I can submit a claim. I purchased the unit and the refill pac.

I purchased this and the electrode patches caused severe skin burins due to the adhesives not being for sensitive skin. The company’s response was for me to place the electrodes above the knee. I asked why would I wasn’t another severe skin button there too as both legs had them below the knee (delayed reaction)? They said they may develop electrode strips for sensitive skin. So wasted $ and for the extra patches I got. I do not see s contact person either.

I had to be treated with prescription steroids to get rid of the mess it made of my leg! Did major skin damage. Was told I bought the wrong electrodes. So i wasted money on more and injury got even worse.

I have also experienced skin burns from the Quell device and was also directed by Neurometrics to try using the device above the knee as a solution. $55.10 does not seem like adequate compensation when it doesn’t even cover the base cost of the unit.

If I paid close to $300 why am I only getting a $55 refund?

I’m wondering that too!

I have bought 4 devices, and have used this device because I am bedridden and with severe chronic pain. Anything wishful to better my condition was ,I guess , only wishful thinking, but I made sure that I had 2 for me and 2 for my husbands so we could have 1 on charge, ready when the other ran out of charge.
My question is, do I get refunded for 4 units? I am dieing a slow death, so really hoped it was being useful.
Why am I only hearing about this right now?
Please direct me to the help I need to be refunded for 4 units, and I have paid hundreds in all the electrodes etc.

If you have questions, please call the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 1-866-403-6545.

Good work, FTC. But why is the "refund" only $55 when we all paid $249-299 for the device plus $30 for the electrodes? And, the device is *still* for sale. Seems like they more-or-less got away with it, right?

If you have questions about your refund, please call the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 1-866-403-6545. Read about the refunds at www.FTC.gov/Quell.

I purchased two different units so do I get double refund?

If you have questions about your refund, please call the refund administrator, Rust Consulting, at 1-866-403-6545.

I purchased this device on the advice of a local who was selling them and touting them as the miracle they were not. While,I appreciate getting anything, I am disappointed we only received back less then 25% of what it cost us, about 2% if you consider the exorbitant and ridiculous cost of the electrodes every month.

Thank you for the refund, however, I paid more for the device.

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