Maker of iPhone breathalyzer issues full refunds to customers over false claims

iphone breathalyzer ftc breathometer png
If you were one of the thousands of people who bought Breathometer’s breathalyzer accessory for the iPhone, you can now request a full refund for your purchase, following a finding that the company was guilty of false advertising.

Breathometer might have been founded in 2012, but its story truly began in 2013 when the company launched its Indiegogo campaign for its self-titled breathalyzer accessory. Advertised as the world’s first smartphone breathalyzer, the Breathometer, in concert with its companion app, promised to provide an accurate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) measurement and track your past results for you to better judge how much time needs to pass before you can drive.

Enough people believed in the idea that, by the time the Breathometer’s crowdfunding efforts ran out of time, the device had garnered $138,437 from 3,816 backers. Breathometer even released the Breeze, a $100 second-generation device that connected to your iPhone over Bluetooth. By comparison, the $50 first-generation device connected to your iPhone through its headphone jack.

As with most accessories that track some sort of metric, making sure the Breathometer was accurate was essential to its functionality, particularly since people might depend on it to see whether or not they should get behind the wheel after a few drinks. Breathometer addressed this in the campaign’s page, where it stated that whatever arrives at backers’ doorsteps met the company’s “high expectations of what consumers want and need.”

According to the Federal Trade Commission, however, Breathometer overinflated its accuracy claims that both its breathalyzer accessories passed “government-lab grade testing” and that the Breeze was a “law enforcement-grade product.” Even worse, the FTC alleged that Breathometer knew that the Breeze reported lower BAC levels than they might actually be and did not say anything to customers.

“People relied on the defendant’s products to decide whether it was safe to get behind the wheel,” said FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director Jessica Rich. “Overstating the accuracy of the devices was deceptive — and dangerous.”

As a result, Breathometer agreed to issue full refunds for its first- and second-generation breathalyzers to those who make such a request. Sales of both accessories reportedly totaled $5.1 million, so that is quite a chunk of change to return — assuming consumers ask for it.

Breathometer is also disallowed from making similar accuracy claims with future breathalyzers, unless they undergo rigorous testing. This one should be easy enough, since the company no longer sells or manufactures breathalyzers.

If you picked up either the first-generation or Breeze breathalyzer, a request form will be available through Breathometer’s website to claim your refund.

Gaming

Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.
Trash

How to save yourself money by buying a refurbished iPhone

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a new iPhone, and it can be very expensive. Save yourself some heartache and some money with our guide on how to buy a refurbished iPhone.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for April 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Mobile

You've spent a grand, now don't skimp on a screen protector for your iPhone X

Wondering how to protect your new iPhone X against scratches and drops? Look no further than our list of the best iPhone X screen protectors, which includes screen protectors designed to reinforce your phone's front panel.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Mobile

These are the key settings to change on the LG G8 ThinQ smartphone

The LG G8 ThinQ is finally available. There are a lot of settings turned off by default that may be useful in improving the experience of using the phone. We've rounded up 11 key settings for you to change on the G8.
Mobile

LG reportedly files patent for triple selfie camera on smartphone

LG has reportedly filed a patent for a smartphone with three front-facing cameras. However, if the patent turns out to be true, it may come down as just another gimmick for the struggling mobile phone manufacturer.
Mobile

Best iPhone 7 Plus screen protectors to shield your big, beautiful display

Cracked screens are expensive to replace. Fortunately for you, we've rounded up what's available in terms of protection for Apple's large iPhone 7 Plus. Here are the best screen protectors you can buy.
Mobile

Samsung says the Galaxy Fold needs more improvements before it's released

The Samsung Galaxy Fold has arrived, and it goes on sale soon. Folding out from a 4.6-inch display to a tablet-sized 7.3-inch display, this unique device has six cameras, two batteries, and special software to help you use multiple apps.
Mobile

Add style and functionality with the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases

No tablet should be without protection, especially an expensive one. Check out our picks for the best iPad Pro 9.7 cases, so you can add some protection, functionality, and style to your new device.
Mobile

Amazon cuts prices on Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 3 smartwatches

In the market for a new smartwatch? The Apple Watch is the best one, and right now it's a little more affordable than it usually is. The Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple Watch Series 3 are both available at discounted prices straight from…
Home Theater

Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones get a $93 price cut

Good head-fi is expensive, but a premium set of headphones is worth it. The excellent Bose Quietcomfort 35 Series II is on sale right now from Rakuten with a two-day coupon code that can save you more than 90 bucks.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Mobile

Weird Galaxy View 2 is a TV-style tablet to take your mind off the Galaxy Fold

Samsung may be about to resurrect a product line that last saw an entry three years ago. Renders of the Galaxy View 2 show it's sticking to the tablet-that-thinks-it's-a-TV formula.