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BOSTON – Two Massachusetts-based companies that allegedly misled consumers about the quality of their public water supply must refrain from using deceptive advertisements to promote the sale of expensive home water-filter systems, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced last week.
The state claimed that Basement Technologies Inc., of Canton, Mass, and McMahon Plumbing & Heating LLC, of Hyde Park, Mass., violated consumer protection laws by improperly suggesting to residents – through mailed advertisements and door-to-door flyers – that the water supplied to their homes was not safe to drink.
Under settlements of the allegations, the companies must refrain from any advertising for home-water-filtration systems that misrepresent the fitness for human consumption of the water supplied by any public water system in the state. The companies must also comply with the state’s regulatory requirements for reporting water-test results to prospective purchasers, including providing customers with the required disclosure form, when performing any drinking-water evaluations.
According to the investigation, Basement Technologies used a marketing campaign called the “Water Quality Awareness Program” to mislead consumers about the quality of the water supplied to their homes. The advertising materials, which included an image nearly identical to the Massachusetts state seal, made it appear that the testing program was a government-sanctioned effort meant to protect public health. In its marketing campaign, McMahon Plumbing used a photograph of an infected human forearm under the caption “Are you at risk?” to market its home-water-filter systems. •