The Federal Trade Commission has charged Illinois-based marketers of a purported pain-relief product called the Q-Ray Ionized Bracelet with making false and unsubstantiated claims.

In its complaint filed in federal district court, the FTC alleges Q-Ray, of in Elk Grove Village, Ill., violated the FTC Act by deceptively claiming that the Q-Ray Bracelet is a fast-acting effective treatment for various types of pain and that tests prove that the Q-Ray Bracelet relieves pain.

In fact, according to the FTC, a recent study conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., shows that the Q-Ray Bracelet is no more effective than a placebo bracelet at relieving muscular and joint pain. A federal district court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the defendants. The TRO prohibits defendants from making any misleading or deceptive claims about the Q-Ray Bracelet and freezes defendants' assets.

The Q-Ray Bracelet is a C-shaped metal bracelet that the defendants claim is "ionized" through a secret process that gives it pain-relieving abilities. The defendants promote their product through a nationally televised 30-minute infomercial and on the Internet at www.qray.com, www.q-ray.com, and www.bio-ray.com.

The defendants allege in their ads that their product works by supposedly altering the body's positive and negative energy to naturally relieve pain from a variety of ailments, including musculoskeletal pain, sciatica, headaches, tendinitis, and injuries. The Q-Ray Bracelet ranges in price from $49.95 to $249.95.

The defendants' infomercial advertises a risk-free money back guarantee that allows consumers to return the Q-Ray Bracelet for a full refund within 30 days if they are not satisfied. The FTC's complaint alleges, however, that consumers were not able to readily obtain a full refund of the purchase price if they returned the product within 30 days, as promised in the defendants' infomercials.

In fact, according to the FTC, many unsatisfied purchasers were unable to obtain refunds despite repeatedly contacting the defendants. Furthermore, some purchasers who viewed the infomercial and went to the defendants' Web site to order the Q-Ray Bracelet were not given this 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

The FTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, including redress, to consumers who purchased the Q-Ray Bracelet.