California and Utah residents have filed a putative class action against a company that makes an upright vacuum cleaner advertised as effective in killing virtually all common viruses, germs and allergens; the complaint alleges that the claims are false, misleading and inaccurate. Chenier v. Oreck Corp., No. 11-05321 (U.S. Dist. Ct., C.D. Cal., filed June 24, 2011). Seeking to certify a nationwide class of consumers, the plaintiffs refer to a fine imposed on the company by the Federal Trade Commission for making allegedly false and deceptive claims about the product’s ability to prevent illness. The plaintiffs allegedly paid $600 for the vacuum cleaner believing that it would provide health benefits and claim that they would not have paid “the exorbitant cost” if they had known the “flu fighting” capability claims were baseless.

Alleging violations of the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose and violation of the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, as well as unfair competition and false advertising, the plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, treble and/or punitive damages, attorney’s fees, and costs.