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Sharper Image to End Breathalyzer Sales to Settle Case

July 08, 2006|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Electronics retailer Sharper Image Corp. agreed Friday to stop selling personal breathalyzers and pay $1.2 million in restitution as part of a settlement regarding the devices.

The company incorrectly claimed the digital breath alcohol testers were accurate to 0.001 of a percentage point of blood-alcohol content, according to tests by San Diego's Consumer Protection Unit.

Sharper Image also agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties for inaccurately advertising the effectiveness of the testers.

Monterey County and San Diego law enforcement agencies reached a settlement collectively on the consumer protection case. "The important thing is no one suffered any injury or financial loss," said Terry Spitz, a Monterey County prosecutor.

The portable devices allegedly measured a person's blood-alcohol level on the go. Another tester called the Alcohawk, which the company says is approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, was still available for sale on the company's website Friday.

The San Francisco-based company admitted no wrongdoing when it agreed to pay the civil penalty but will issue refunds to customers, Spitz said.

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