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He won't sell it, but man's still a laundry-ball believer

Jim Willeford and laundry ball

MT file photo

The laundry ball may be history from a sales point of view, but at leastone local distributor plans to keep using the miracle productto suds his duds.

I do find it outrageous that the attorney general can tell thepeople of Oregon what they can buy or sell when there's a 100 percent completemoney-back guarantee, said Jim Willeford of Jacksonville. Thenext thing, they'll come into my home and tell me I can't use it.

Willeford was an early Oregon enthusiast of the blue plastic liquid-filledball known as the Laundry Solution, the Globe or the SuperGlobe, which soldfor $75 with the promise that users would never need laundry detergent again.

The lawyers in the financial fraud section of the Oregon Department ofJustice took a dimmer view of the laundry ball, and on Wednesday the Florida-baseddistributors agreed to stop selling in Oregon and to pay fines of $190,000,including $65,000 for consumer restitution.

The Justice Department investigation originally examined both the promoter'sclaims that the product was based on new scientific discoveries and themultilevel marketing used for sales, which some officials think is an illegalpyramid scheme.

But, in the end, Oregon officials chose to focus strictly on productclaims, said Jan Margosian, consumer information coordinator for the stateJustice Department.

A scam's a scam, she said. If we proved that the productwas phony, we didn't have to do any more.

That proof comes in the form of a scientific analysis by Structure ProbeInc., an independent laboratory in Chester County, Pa.

According to a circuit court affidavit filed in Marion County, scientistssubjected the laundry ball to electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-rayspectroscopy and ultraviolet spectroscopy but failed to detect the crystalsthat promoters claimed made their product clean without soap.

I conclude further that there is no theoretical basis for believingthat the structures described ... do or could exist, said Andrew W.Blackwood, technical vice-president of Structure Probe.

Any claim that the container can both isolate the water and permitthe emission of an electric field, as claimed in some of the promotionalmaterials, conflicts with basic scientific principles, including the lawsof thermodynamics and the conventional understanding of electricity,he said.

Willeford said he stopped selling the laundry ball in Oregon after theJustice Department began investigating earlier this year, but he will continueto use it.

There are so many real crimes around. It makes me wonder why thestate of Oregon has spent close to $100,000 of taxpayers' money to testa product, yet there's been no consumer complaints about the product,he said. I don't think it was any of their business.

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He won't sell it, but man's still a laundry-ball believer