Marysville firm comes under scrutiny

  • By Evan Caldwell / Herald Writer
  • Thursday, July 1, 2004 9:00pm
  • Business

The Washington state Attorney General’s Office has accused a Snohomish County man and his Marysville-based company of violating several consumer-protection laws.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday, contends Nature’s Advantage LLC and owner Vaughn Wolfe made unsubstantiated claims that lotions, capsules and other products he sold on the Internet could increase breast size without surgery.

“We asked them to substantiate their claims and the bottom line is that they could not provide any thing to back up their claims,” said Paula Selis, senior council with the Consumer Protection division of the state Attorney General’s office in Seattle.

Selis said the investigation started when they received a complaint. They looked at the Web sites – NaturesAdvantageProducts.com and HerbalBreast.com – and saw cause for concern.

Wolfe cannot support his claims by any reference to any “clinical studies or data, or any controlled tests, analyses, research, studies or other scientific evidence,” according to the lawsuit.

“We were extremely concerned about their recommendations for teenagers,” Selis said. “Some statements, mostly in the Q &A section, said (the products) were safe and effective for teens.” Selis added that some of the hormones in Wolfe’s products haven’t been tested as safe for teenagers or adults.

The Web sites have this answer posted to a question of whether it is safe for an “under-developed” 16-year-old to use the products: “Yes! HBA is great for teenagers who are under-developed.” The Attorney General’s office doesn’t’ know how many people bought products from Wolfe’s Web sites, which include soaps and liquid sprays that promise to firm and grow bust lines in 95 percent of women.

Messages to Wolfe’s personal and business phone numbers were not returned.

Both the toll-free ordering number on the Web sites and Wolfe’s home phone number have the same message claiming to be a call center and that “all representatives are busy at this time,” but to leave a message and a representative will call back.

No one came to the door at his listed business address, a one-story house located at 11721 State Street in Marysville, or at his home at 602 E. Harrison Street in Seattle. Both houses had no lights on and all the windows had blinds and curtains shut.

Wolfe’s attorney, Griffith Flaherty of Seattle, was unavailable for comment.

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