FTC Wins Deceptive Insulation Claims Case


The Federal Trade Commission recently won a court order against several companies for fraudulently claiming their coatings have insulating properties.

“At a time of high energy prices and deep concern about inflation, today’s ruling shows the impact FTC cases are having on issues of vital economic importance to American consumers,” said Sam Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

What Happened

In July 2020, the FTC sued four companies that sell paint products, alleging that they misled consumers about their products’ insulation and energy-savings capabilities. The coatings were reportedly sold for use on buildings and homes.

The four companies filed against included:

  • Superior Products International II, Inc.: The FTC complained against the Kansas-based Superior Products and its officer, J.E. Pritchett, alleging that they market their Super Therm and Sunshield roof and wall coatings using deceptive energy-savings and R-value claims. Specifically, the complaint stated the defendants falsely claimed that the products provided significant energy savings of “between 40% and 70%” for consumers when applied to a home or other building. In addition, the FTC contended, while the defendants claim that the products have an R-value (or equivalency) of R-19, they are unable to substantiate these claims, and the coatings actually have R-values of significantly less than one.
  • SuperTherm, Inc.: In the FTC complaint against the Arizona-based SuperTherm, and its officers, Roberto and Susana Guerra, the Commission alleged that they marketed MultiCeramics Insulation coating using deceptive R-value claims, falsely stating that the product provides the equivalent of R-19 insulation. The Commission alleged, however, that the defendants were unable to substantiate these claims, and that MultiCeramics Insulation actually has an R-value of less than one.
  • SPM Thermo-Shield, Inc.: The FTC’s complaint against the Florida-based SPM Thermo-Shield, and its officers, Peter and George Spiska, alleged that they deceptively market their Thermo-Shield Roof Coat, Thermo-Shield Exterior Wall Coating, and Thermo-Shield Interior Wall Coating as have R-values of R-22 and R-21, and that they provide significant energy savings for consumers when applied to homes or other buildings. The complaint states these R-value claims are false, however, and that the company’s coatings actually have R-values that are lower than one. Moreover, defendants have no substantiation for their energy-savings claims.
  • F & G International Group Holdings, LLC and FG International, LLC: The FTC’s complaint against the Georgia-based F&G and FG, and their shared officer, J. Glenn Davis, alleged that they market their FGI-4440 Insulation Coating using deceptive R-value claims. Specifically, while the defendants claim that FGI-4440 provides “an equivalent R value greater than 30,” they cannot substantiate the claims, and FGI-4440 has an actual R-value of less than one. The FTC also alleges that the defendants falsely claim that testing supports their R-value claims for FGI-4440.

As filed in court, the FTC explained in its charges that the companies falsely overstated the R-value ratings—which measure a product’s resistance to heat flow—of the coatings. Based on the R-value of a product, consumers can improve the energy efficiency of their buildings or homes that meet their desired energy-saving needs.

The complaint also alleged the companies made deceptive statements about heat flow and insulating power.

“Companies touting the energy-saving properties of their products must have scientific support for their claims,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, at the time. “When they don’t, the FTC will step in to make sure they do.”

According to a report from the time of the filing, the Commission vote authorizing the staff to file each complaint was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter not participating.

The FTC filed the complaint against the Superior Products defendants in the U.S. District Court of the District of Kansas; the complaint against the SuperTherm defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona; the complaint the SMP Thermo-Shield defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida; and the complaint against the F & G International Group defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District for the Southern District of Georgia.

In June 2022, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ordered SPM Thermo-Shield, Inc. to permanently halt deceptive energy-efficiency claims it has been making about wall coating products that it sells for houses and other buildings.

At the time, the court also issued a permanent injunction prohibiting SPM Thermo-Shield and its officers from misrepresenting the coatings’ insulating or energy-saving capabilities.

By taking these actions, the defendants are permanently prohibited from:

  • Misrepresenting the R-value of any architectural coating product;
  • Making unsubstantiated claims that any architectural coating product is equivalent to, or substantially similar to, the R-value of any other product or system or provide the equivalent of adding insulation with a specific R-value; and
  • Claiming that any architectural coating product will provide energy savings without disclosing that such savings vary according to several factors, such as location, climate, building type, and level of construction.

SPM Thermo-Shield, Inc. has also been prohibited from providing the “means and instrumentalities” that would allow anyone else to make such misleading R-value or energy-savings claims.

The opinion, order and permanent injunction were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division. They have since been signed and entered by the court.

“We know consumers are concerned about rising energy costs,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, at the time. “In this environment, it’s more critical than ever that sellers be honest about energy efficiency claims—and we are poised to hold them accountable when they are not.”

What Now

On Oct. 11, the FTC announced that it won a court order against F & G International Group Holdings, LLC, FG International, LLC, (FGI) and their principal J. Glenn Davis after suing the company and its CEO for deceptively claiming their paint insulates.

After an investigation, it was discovered that the paint sold by FGI actually does not insulate and that it provides “far less protection than the company claimed and end users of the product received none of the insulation FGI promised.”

The order from the U.S. Court for the Southern District of Georgia permanently bans FGI from making deceptive claims and prohibits them from supporting similar deception from other companies.

In issuing the opinion and order the court found that the FGI defendants harmed consumers, including small businesses, by:

  • Making False Claims. FGI baselessly claimed that their insulation coating was more than thirty times more effective than its actual value;
  • Misrepresenting Data. FGI claimed that testing supported the insulation value of their paints when it did not; and
  • Inducing Customers with False Insulation Claims. FGI made these false claims and misrepresentations in a way that was important in buying decisions and induced purchases by customers.

The order prohibits the defendants behind FGI from helping anyone else make misleading claims about insulation ratings or the energy efficiency that any product will provide.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Statesboro Division, entered the opinion and permanent injunction.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Coating Materials - Commercial; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Coatings Technology; Federal Trade Commission; Federal Trade Commission; Good Technical Practice; Heat-resistive coatings; Insulating coatings; Insulation; Laws and litigation; Lawsuits; NA; North America; Program/Project Management

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