BALTIMORE — Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is suing a hydrogen water systems company and its owners for deceptively advertising the health benefits of its molecular hydrogen water and promising case study participants a monthly fee to help them afford the $6,720 - $9,770 machines, but then failing to pay.
WMAR-2 News reported on Trusii in 2019 and a Maryland customer who was unhappy with the company’s case study program.
At the time, the Florida Attorney General had received 100 complaints about the company. According to the lawsuit filed in August 2021, the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division has received over 287 complaints from consumers in Florida and nationwide.
The 23-paged complaint details the Florida-based company’s alleged deception and unfair business activities.
Trusii, and the four individuals connected to the company, are accused of enticing customers into buying the molecular hydrogen water machines by deceptively advertising “wide-ranging health benefits” for “over 170 diseases” including, but not limited to, viruses, diabetes, cancer, brain injuries, depression, skin disorders, lupus, and other chronic ailments.
And offering customers the opportunity to receive a rebate in the form of a monthly participation fee, of some or all of the purchase price if they satisfied the requirements of the case study program.
“So this was a way to actually be able to do it and I didn’t mind providing feedback,” said Heather Anderson, who financed a Trusii machine for $6,920 in 2018.
Anderson filed a complaint with the state of Florida and her experience was similar to details laid out in the lawsuit.
She received confirmation from a Trusii representative that if she filled out a questionnaire and posted testimonials about how “Trusii H2 has been positively impacting her life” on social media, she’d get a check for $200 a month for 36 months.
Anderson said she received a few payments, then they stopped and there were other issues.
“I started to smell mold and that’s when things fell apart with the case study,” Anderson said.
According to the lawsuit, most customers who filed a complaint signed up for this program.
And when customers didn’t receive their payments, or on occasion were “sent worthless checks or checks written on closed accounts,” the company ceased communications with consumers or falsely claimed that consumers did not complete the case study requirements.
The company is also accused of advertising higher molecular hydrogen water content than the manufacturer advertises, and not honoring the 30-day money back guaranty or three-year unconditional repair or replacement warranty.
“This company swindles consumers seeking to improve their health—many of whom were Florida seniors. Promising a product can cure a myriad of ailments is a scam as old as snake oil, and it’s downright shameful that this company would exploit consumers concerned about their health, especially during a pandemic. My office is taking legal action to hold the defendant accountable for its actions and protect Floridians from these false claims,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody in a news release.
Trusii co-owner, Jeffrey Taraday, declined to comment on the lawsuit, but there's new message on the Trusii website. It states, in part:
“Since June 2019, trusii has not conducted any business selling machines. We’ve tried everything in our power to take care of our clients and to fight the false narratives perpetrated against our company, but the attacks we’ve sustained over the past three years have left us without any options to move forward.
As of today, September 1, 2021, we are reluctantly closing our doors.
Although we may not be selling H2 systems anymore, we are going to be honoring our warranty for our valued clients, and we will even continue to help service systems for clients with expired or voided warranties. It has been our privilege and honor to serve every one of you.”
In an interview in 2020, Taraday also denied any kind of deception.
“This entire program was designed for us to sacrifice any kind of profits, any kind of personal enrichment to get this technology into the hands of as many people as possible that we believe we can help and to help them legitimately and then to have them help us launch our brand into the mainstream,” said Taraday.
The Attorney General, however, has accused Trusii and its operators of “using money from the sales of the water machines for their own personal expenses, including credit card payments, residential leases, trips, and exotic cars.”
The Florida Attorney General declined WMAR-2 News’ request for an interview.
Despite the company's recent announcement to close, a spokeswoman with the Florida Office of the Attorney General said the lawsuit will move forward.
"Our Office continues to seek full restitution for consumers, civil penalties for each violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and a permanent injunction against the defendant, despite Trusii’s announcement that it is closing Sept. 1. This ongoing legal action will continue and we will monitor for any additional issues that may arise relating to the closing of the business."
-- Kylie Mason, Deputy Communications Director / Press Secretary, Office of the Attorney General Ashley Moody
An attorney representing Trusii co-owner Christopher Kennedy in an unrelated fraud case said his client does not have any comment at this time.