Sunday, May 23, 2010

Minnesota Court Rules – Scent-Lok Guilty of False Advertising

© By Othmar Vohringer

Some of my regular readers may remember a post I made on September 26, 2007, “Disgruntled Hunters Take Scent-Lok On”. If you can’t remember I don’t blame you because I couldn’t either until yesterday when I read two newspaper articles about the case.

It’s been 4 years since five Minnesota hunters brought a lawsuit against ALS Enterprises, the manufacturer of Scent-Lok products, and some of its retail partners. The plaintiffs claimed that Scent-Lok and its affiliates duped hunters out of millions of dollars with false advertising about the effectiveness of their product.

Last week, in the United States District Court in Minnesota, Judge Richard Kyle ruled that ALS had falsely claimed that its products were based on "odor eliminating technology" or were "odor eliminating clothing." The word "eliminate" was key in the judge's decision. Read the full article here.

The manufacturers of the Scent-Lok products respectfully disagree with the court's ruling that "odor eliminate" can only mean 100% elimination. There are many products on the market advertised as "eliminating" some condition and people understand that they do not eliminate the condition 100%. A search of the term “eliminate odor” produced over 1.9 million references to the term. A search of “odor eliminator” produced 281,000 results.

Of note, the court’s ruling does not relate to the efficacy of Scent-Lok products to perform in the field. Scent-Lok products work, and work well. Laboratory tests, including tests conducted in the lawsuit show that Scent-Lok carbon-containing clothing dramatically outperforms no-carbon clothing at adsorbing odors. You can read the full response here.

It is my personal opinion that companies should be held to certain standard in their advertising. However, on the other hand it just makes me laugh how many people seem to abandon all commonsense and actually believe what the advertising promises. I fear that this case will serve as an example for many others to follow. Who will be next? A broadhead manufacturer claiming that his arrowheads are deadlier on deer then those of the competition? Will it be a camouflage company claiming that their camo pattern will make a hunter invisible to deer? The possibilities for money grabbing lawyers and disgruntled hunters blaming their lack of hunting success on others rather than on themselves are endless.

This blog post has been brought to you by Othmar Vohringer Outdoors

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Terry Scoville said...

Well done Othmar.
I especially appreciated bringing the attention of the hunters success or lack of, directly back to themselves. Again, it's not the gear that makes the hunter but rather a combination of many factors, only one of which is clothing.

BIll Anderson said...

Othmar - Loved your thoughts about this. I posted some thoughts on my blog. Keep your posts coming!!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Terry - You will not believe how many times i hear on my seminars hunters say that such and such product has let them down or cost them a deer. To me it is shocking how many hunters have come to relay on gadgets and cizmos rather than learning about the naimal they pursue and learning to become proficient with their weapon of choice.

Bill - Great post and thank you for the link back to my blog. Like you, and as I wrote in my post, I see this case as a very dangerous precedent setting. Must from now on manufacturers choose their words carefully because it could be misconstrued to something else?

A product next in line could be the climbing treestand.When a hunter attached the stand to the tree it will not climb up the tree, the hunter has to do that with the stand. Do the treestand manufacturers make a false promise by choosing the words "climbing treetsnads."? To me this is just one step closer to a total nanny state, where everything we say and do is regulated.


CDGardens said...

I do remember the issue when it first came up back in 2007.

We do need to go back to using tactical skill instead of depending on special clothes, or other gadgets to give us an edge in hunting.

Thank you for your post.

Othmar Vohringer said...

You're absolutely right CDGardens. While technology certainly has advantages people generally, not only in hunting, relay so heavily on it that many think they couldn't do anything without it. This becomes very apparent in my seminars where most asked question is, "what do think of (enter name of product here)". My answer is almost always the same. "It doesn't matter what brand or product you use, success boils down to one simple factor. YOU!"


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