Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#empoblognov03 See Nothing At All Any More Method

Back when I started blogging, something called the "See Clearly Method" was all the rage. It was being heavily advertised, and promoted by celebrity spokesperson Mariette Hartley.

In a November 2003 post, I did something that I've done on many occasions since - look at the fine print regarding a particular product or service. In this case, I looked at the fine print for the See Clearly Method, and the fine print painted a different picture than what was painted in the advertising.

..The See Clearly Method (tm) is an educational tool that teaches the user how to see more clearly, comfortably, and efficiently. It is not a medical or assistive device, nor is it a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.

By the way, the abbreviation "tm" in that excerpt above may not have anything to do with trademarks, because the company that marketed the See Clearly Method, Vision Improvement Technologies, was based in Fairfield, Iowa.

Which is why the Iowa Attorney General got involved in 2005, and made the following announcement in November 2006:

The Polk County District Court has ordered Vision Improvement Technologies, Inc., to stop all sales immediately of its so-called natural vision improvement kit called the "See Clearly Method." The Court also ordered the Fairfield company to pay $200,000 for consumer restitution.(Copy of the Consent Judgment.)

The Court order resolves a consumer fraud lawsuit filed last year by Attorney General Tom Miller, which alleged that the company could not substantiate claims that the "See Clearly Method" improved people's vision so much that they would no longer need glasses or contact lenses. (Copy of the lawsuit.)

The "See Clearly Method" was a kit of manuals, charts, videos and audio-tapes demonstrating eye exercises and other techniques, such as focusing eyes using special charts or props, facing a bright light with eyes closed at a distance of a few inches, covering eyes with hands for sustained periods, and applying hot and cold wash cloths over closed eyes. The company sold tens of thousands of the kits for about $350 apiece.

"The company made dramatic claims for its product that it could not substantiate," Miller said. "They represented that consumers who used the method could quickly and easily free themselves of having to wear glasses or contact lenses. They used illegal tactics including exaggerated claims of effectiveness, false implications of scientific validity, and misleading consumer testimonials in advertising," he said.

"We also alleged that a so-called 'risk-free' 30-day trial period was deceptively presented and ended up forcing many consumers to pay hundreds of dollars apiece for a product that they wanted to return because it did not help them," Miller said.

Polk County District Court Judge Don C. Nickerson entered a Consent Judgment on Wednesday resolving the Attorney General's lawsuit. The order was agreed-to by Vision Improvement Technologies, Inc. (VIT) and the individual defendants: Cliff Rose, David E. Sykes, David W. Muris, and Gary Korf. The defendants denied violations of the Consumer Fraud Act.

VIT and all defendants must comply with numerous orders under the Consent Judgment:

VIT must stop all sales of the "See Clearly Method" as of Nov.1, and cease business altogether by December 22, 2006, or as soon thereafter as possible. (VIT's web site now,, says: "See Clearly Method No Longer Offered for Sale," and it provides only contact information for inquiries or returns.)

VIT paid $200,000 yesterday into a fund the Attorney General can use for restitution to consumers, and paid $20,000 to Iowa's Consumer Fraud Elderly Victim Fund.

VIT must remove all negative credit reports lodged against consumers since the marketing of the "See Clearly Method" began about six years ago.

VIT and all defendants are prohibited from numerous deceptive practices alleged by the Attorney General, including failing to substantiate claims, abusing testimonials in advertising, and making misleading claims.

Oddly enough, Mariette Hartley's website fails to mention her work for the See Clearly Method. However, her blog shows that she has a solid grasp of the Latin language.
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