Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Texas Attorney General Shuts Down Bogus "Gas Pills" Scam



















A new scam product making it's way through the channels of MLM was called BioPerformance, a new "gas pill" that claims to increase gas mileage by altering the hydrocarbons of fuel to change the flash point and make it burn more efficiently. This product is sold as pills and powder to be added to an automobiles gas tank during fillups. The claims made by this company about the product are outrageous and fraudulent. I first learned of this product through a posting on a message board by an individual who was a "reseller" or downline for the product and was trying to promote individuals to join in under him. After this, I reported the company to the National Fraud Information Center. Now, just recently, the Attorney General of Texas has filed a lawsuit and brought a restraining order against the company for operating as a pyramid scheme and selling a bogus product using false advertising.

After looking at the claims made by the company I determined that the product is potentially dangerous and can even cause damage to your cars engine and fuel lines, as admitted by the company in their disclaimer, which stated "BioPerformance, Inc. does not guarantee that the product works whatsoever and does not guarantee that you will earn any income whatsoever. BioPerformance, Inc. makes no income or product claims whatsoever."

The claims that were made by the company were completely bogus and meant to sound scientific to fool consumers into believing that the product is capable of doing what it claims to do by relying on a lack of knowledge. The original description of the product read the following:

How do the gas pills work?

The gas pills have the property of modifying the fuel'’s molecular structure and liberating the energy contained within.

* This is achieved by Brownian motion which consists on the molecular movement of the components of the polymeric chains contained in hydrocarbons.

Because the gas pills are a catalyst, they are capable of speeding or retarding a chemical reaction, without breaking down or changing the chemical reaction and producing a transformation which modifies the molecules. The result is the liberation of the total energy contained within.

* The main property of fuels is the heat value, or the quantity of energy that the fuel liberates during combustion.

* The volatility or evaporation of a liquid fuel is determined by the air/vapor ratio that can be achieved at a given temperature. This is the result of the FLASH POINT (the temperature at which the quantity of vapor is enough to form a mixture of air and flammable fuel). Each type of combustible has a different flammable point according to the norm ASTM D92-52 and D93.

* Now, when lowering the flash point temperature, one can obtain a dew point, with more evaporation, achieving an air and fuel mix with a bigger energy saturation. This produces more heat value with less combustible and a better and more complete combustion mix. The effect of the gas pills allows to diminish the combustion point increasing the concrete characteristics of evaporation that all fuels have at normal pressure and temperature. This is why we obtain a flash point at a lower temperature, increasing the amount of burning gases.

* The enzymatic catalyst has countless applications in the food, textile, paper, alcohol, organic, chemical and other industries. Its manufacturing is especially designed for liquid petroleum-based fuels.

* The gas pills have the property of modifying the physical state of these fuels, accelerating the breaking of molecular connections.

Of course, there is no chemical on earth that could do what this company claimed their product could do. And the main ingredient? Naphthalene - an ingredient found in moth balls and lighter fluid. Napthalene, also known as Naphtha, is commonly used as a stain cleaner and the main ingredient in Ronsonol Lighter Fluid. If you have ever had a Zippo lighter, you have probably seen the yellow Ronsonol bottle. Naphthalene is also listed as a possible carcinogen.

The company who sells the product is run out of Irving, Texas - a suburb of Dallas. But, their domain registration lists a P.O. Box. Now on their website, however, they are advising anyone to only contact them by email, and the BBB (see below) has reported that their listed phone number does not work.

Domain Registration Info For:
http://www.mybpbiz.com/

Owner, Billing Contact:
Gustavo Romero / Lowell Mims (ID00219213)
P.O. Box 612503
Dallas, TX 75261
United States
Phone: +1.2147647917
Email: gus@bioperformance.net
Administrative Contact, Technical Contact:
e-advisors Inc.
Francisco Borja (ID00045362)
1580 Sawgrass Corporate Parkway
Suite 130
Sunrise, FL 33323
United States
Phone: +1.9548398255
Email: fborja@eadvisors.net

The web page has now changed since the action taken by the Texas AG, but you can see the original page through the Google Cache of the Original BioPerformance Page.

In addition to the dubious claims the company made about the product, the Texas AG states that BioPerformance is simply a pyramid scheme and the ingredients in the product are harmful to humans.

According to the Texas State Attorney General:
The Attorney GeneralĂ‚’s lawsuit alleges violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and the promotion of an illegal pyramid scheme, which can result in penalties of $20,000 per violation. The suit requests restitution to consumers who have been financially harmed by the false promises of this operation. These false income promotions include slick Web site come-ons for new sports cars, mansions and exclusive vacations "just for helping Americans save money on gas."

The Attorney General'’s scientific expert also found that the chemical compound used in these pills can be harmful to humans. Short-term exposure to naphthalene by humans via inhalation, ingestion or skin contact can result in anemia and neurological or liver damage.

The company also has a poor record with the BBB who states:

Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to its failure to substantiate or modify advertising claims.

Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to failure to respond to a complaint. However the business has resolved most complaints presented to the bureau.

The Bureau has received complaints alleging that the product, BioPerformance Fuel gas pills, does not work as advertised. Complaints also allege non-delivery of product; difficulties in cancelling auto-ship orders; and difficulties getting in touch with the company.

On May 5, 2006, a company representative told the BBB that the company does not have a telephone number for customer service. The company requests that customers write to the company at the address above, and that distributors contact the company through the customer service module of the distributor's Web site.

Advertising Review

On the Web site, and in the "Product Presentation", BioPerformance, Inc., makes claims that the product BioPerformance Fuel provides fuel savings and reduced smoke and gas emissions, among other claims.

On March 15, 2006, and March 29, 2006, the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas sent requests to BioPerformance, Inc., for substantiation of the product claims. The company provided information, including unidentified tests, that did not substantiate the claims. On April 26, 2006, and on May 8, 2006, the BBB sent requests to the company to stop unsubstantiated claims.

On May 10, 2006, the company provided a summary of a test done in Mexico at the company's request at the Vehicular Emissions Laboratory of the DGCENICA, the Head Office of the National Center for Environmental Research and Training of Mexico.

The summary shows that only one vehicle was evaluated, a 1985 Volkwagen with standard transmission. The first evaluation showed the starting measurements. The second evaluation, three months later, showed the measurements after the product was added, with no significant increase of the "yield in fuel". At the request of the company, a third evaluation was done the same day, and according to the summary, showed "a 25% increase in fuel yield".

However, the laboratory states, "... the tests performed are not sufficient to provide results with regards to the performance of the product called Bio Plus Fuel. We recommend performing additional tests by first establishing a statistical plan in order to confirm the product's effectiveness." Among other recommendations, the laboratory recommended testing "at least 50 vehicles, different makes and models, and up to 10 years old, selected at random .."

The information provided by BioPerformance, Inc., does not substantiate the product claims and the company continues to make the product claims.

In addition, the BBB notes that on its Web site, the company states: "In accordance with American Legislation, this product is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency ... "

The BBB asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about this statement. The EPA advised: "An additive by the name of BioPerformance was recently registered. Registration involves providing a chemical description of the additive ... Registration does not involve verification of performance claims made for an additive. You should ask the manufacturer for the data that support any claims of improved fuel economy, etc."

Government Actions

On May 17, 2006, the Texas Attorney General's office filed suit and obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against BioPeformance, Inc. The suit alleges that the company is organized as an illegal pyramid scheme and that the company falsely claims that its product will boost gas mileage and save consumers money. According to the Attorney General's office, tests show the product is mainly napthalene, the chemical found in mothballs, and the product could decrease engine performance. A hearing for a Temporary Injunction is set for May 30, 2006.

For now, BioPerformance is telling its representatives the following:

DO NOT MAKE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING CLAIMS:
1. Will reduce the emission of gasoline or diesel powered vehicles;
2. Improve gasoline efficiency or fuel economy of gasoline or diesel powered vehicles, or
3. Are safe and non-toxic;

[...]

No BioPerformance IBO should be giving interviews to the media. If accosted to the press, simply decline to respond. If they follow after you, decline. If they insist: DECLINE! You may confidently say: "All media inquiries are being answered by Advent Communications which you can reach at 214.378.6280 x1192. Or you may contact Dr. Jolley, President of Advent Communications, at clifton@adventcommunications.com."

Since I originally heard about these fuel saving pills, I have seen several others pop up. This isn't the first time in history though that people have attempted to sell such a product. During the oil crisis in the late 70s, similar bunk products were sold to consumers looking for any way possible to save on gasoline. According to the FTC, the EPA has tested many devices and products that claim to save fuel mileage and "very few" had any benefits.

Watch NBC4 of LA's Report on BioPerformance:


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