The Federal Trade Commission and New York based company Wellco have agreed to a settlement in a case where the FTC said the company deceived customers with claims about antennas offering hundreds of channels, including premium channels, for free.
The FTC complaint says that Wellco began selling the antennas in 2017 under the brands TV Scout, SkyWire, SkyLink, and Tilt TV brand names. Over 800,000 antennas were sold. The FTC claims that Wellco sold the products based on false claims and using reviews from their competitors to market their own products.
“The defendants used every trick in the book to sell their antennas and amplifiers to people, including older adults, who wanted to save money on cable and satellite TV channels,” said Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, according to an FTC press release. “People should be able to trust the claims companies make, not discover after buying that they were told lies.”
The FTC filed the complaint and proposed a settlement in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The settlement prohibits Wellco from making claims about being the top rated antenna company, how many channels customers will get, and specifics about product performance that cannot be proved.
Product listings like the one shown below for the “300 Miles Range Antenna TV Super Thin Digital HD Skylink 4K Antena Digital Indoor HDTV 1080p Receive Local News, Weather, Sitcoms, Kids And Sports Programs” product sold through a third party on the Walmart website make some bold claims like those that the FTC says Wellco made.
This specific product description says the antenna has a reception range of 300 miles. Antennas Direct notes that a 300 mile range defies the laws of physics. While the description includes only lists “ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, Fox, Univision and more” as channels available with the antenna, the graphics in the description includes logos for channels that would absolutely not be picked up with an antenna, including premium channels like HBO and Showtime.
Antennas are a great way for many cord cutters to watch live, local channels. When shopping for an antenna, keep an eye out for big claims like a range of over 70 miles or the ability to get over 100 channels. Buy from trusted brands like Antennas Direct and Channel Master. And remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.