Time to Clear the Air? GPS Air Purifiers Can’t Kill COVID-19, Class Action Says
A proposed class action alleges Global Plasma Solutions (GPS) has preyed on consumers desperate to protect themselves from illness by falsely advertising that its products can eliminate all sorts of diseases from the air, including the COVID-19 virus..
The 91-page complaint out of Delaware alleges GPS, now known as GPS Air, has instilled consumers with a false sense of security by misleadingly claiming that its products are able to cleanse the air of COVID-19 and were independently tested under real-world conditions.
In truth, the lawsuit says, GPS Air has hidden “significant defects” in its Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology-equipped products, which the company allegedly paid to test itself under conditions that are far more controlled than those that exist in the real world. As the case tells it, whenever GPS Air’s products have been truly independently tested in real-world conditions, they “consistently fail” to achieve the advertised results.
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Further, GPS Air has “enhanced” its marketing by providing information on how to obtain government funding via the CARES Act to buy its air purifiers, the filing says. The case argues that these “free money” purchases boost GPS Air’s revenues by shifting vital tax money into the company’s pockets and away from more effective means of virus mitigation.
“COVID-19 has taken more than 1,090,000 American lives,” the complaint states. “In an effort to capture dollars from COVID-19 fear, Defendant markets directly to consumers seeking protection and relief from the virus.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the market for air treatment systems experienced unprecedented growth that’s expected to continue as consumer and commercial demand for air purifiers shows no signs of slowing down, the case explains. The feeling of safety and security is “pivotal” to the public, the case says, and the installation of air treatment systems has been one of the more popular COVID-19 mitigation efforts, in particular for senior living facilities, schools, churches and other public areas nationwide. As businesses and private homes seek to improve air quality, GPS Air has increased its marketing efforts, specifically focusing on “pathogens and coronavirus and COVID-19,” the lawsuit says.
Per the complaint, a pillar of GPS Air’s product line is its patented Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology (NPBI). In its marketing, GPS Air uniformly touts that its NPBI-equipped air treatment products are superior to those of competitors in that they “produce cleaner air”—a “critical” selling point, the complaint states—and are capable of hitting certain toxin-removal benchmarks.
While the manufacturer purports that these representations are based on sound, “independent” research, such tests are “fundamentally flawed and biased” in that they are, in truth, company-funded studies performed under “carefully constructed” conditions, the complaint charges.
Defendant’s funding of its own studies not only flies in opposition to Defendant’s testing representations but also presents a clear conflict. Relying on company-funded studies, as one concerned parent stated, ‘is like only listening to advice from Philip Morris as to whether smoking is safe or not.’”
According to the lawsuit, one purportedly independent test involved GPS Air using a chamber “the size of a shoebox” to support claims that its products could kill COVID-19 in a home or school. In the study, the case continues, GPS Air “blasted” the virus contained in the small testing chamber with 27,000 ions per cubic centimeter, far more than the concentrations achievable by the products in the real world.
The GPS Air purifiers offered for sale deliver roughly 13 times less ion power into a full-sized room than what was achieved during the test, the case says, further adding that the company’s NPBI feature is no more than “an emerging technology” backed by little research evaluating it outside of lab conditions.
Unfortunately for the public, GPS Air’s representations about its products were “largely repeated uncritically” by news outlets and on social media.
These misleading advertisements and representations were viewed by millions of people and drove sales of the Products throughout the country. The misleading representations grew like a virus because many purchasers were struggling small businesses which ‘boasted’ about COVID-19-fighting investments in order to make customers feel safe.”
Overall, the suit alleges that despite GPS Air’s claims, true independent studies show that its products are ineffective at cleaning the air in real-world conditions and fail to achieve the touted benchmarks in real-world environments.
For instance, when Boeing conducted a technical assessment of air ionization technology, including GPS Air’s NPBI, it found “minimal reductions” in both viral inactivation and “surface bacteria viability for bipolar ionization,” the suit says. At the end of the assessment, Boeing found that the use of air ionization in an airplane “remains inconclusive” for fighting COVID-19, as the company was “unable to replicate supplier results.”
“Through a coordinated campaign to profit from COVID-19 fear, Defendant overstates the efficacy of its Products’ ability to eliminate COVID-19,” the case summarizes.
One additional overstatement, the suit points out, was GPS Air’s representation that its air-purifying technology was installed in the White House for COVID-19 mitigation purposes, the suit claims. In reality, the technology was installed in the White House in 2018, well before COVID-19 sparked a global pandemic, the case relays.
Which GPS Air purifiers are mentioned in the class action?
The case alleges the air purifier products misleadingly advertised by GPS Air include the GPS-FC48-AC, GPS-FC24-AC, GPS-DM48-AC, GPS-FC-3-BAS, GPS-IMOD, GPS-IRIB-18 and GPS-IRIB-36, all of which are equipped with the company’s patented Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization technology.
Who’s covered by the GPS Air class action?
The case looks to represent all individuals in the United States who bought any of the GPS air-purifying products listed on this page.
I bought a GPS air purifier. How do I get involved?
When a proposed class action is initially filed, there’s nothing a consumer needs to do to join or add their name to the suit. This is because it’s only if and when a class action settles that the people who are covered by the case, called “class members,” might need to act. Typically, this involves filling out and filing a claim form online or by mail.
Should the air purifier class action against GPS Air settle, class members who bought their products from the company will most likely be notified directly about the deal by mail or email.
It could take a while before we get there, however. This is because class action suits tend to take some time to work through the legal process, usually toward a settlement, dismissal or arbitration.
If you bought any of the GPS Air products listed on this page, or simply want to stay in the loop on class action lawsuit and settlement news, sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter.
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