The U-Mask ends up under the Antitrust lens

The U-Mask ends up under the Antitrust lens

According to the Competition Authority, the duration of the protective efficacy would not be duly proven. Companies under investigation

Roberto Rustichelli, president of the Antitrust (source: Agcm) A promotion and sales activity carried out "in a deceptive and aggressive way", to induce the consumer to buy U-Mask "at prices high ": this is what the Guarantor of competition and the market complains about in opening an investigation procedure against U-Earth Biotech and Pure Air Zone Italy. Antitrust officials together with the Guardia di Finanza also carried out inspections at the offices of the two companies.

According to the Authority, they allegedly exploited the health emergency situation, since "the claims with which the companies they would emphasize the effectiveness, in terms of prevention, of the masks in question appear capable of deceiving consumers, inducing them to purchase a product without the advertised features and filtering capacity, with a consequent potential health hazard ".

In particular, the U-Mask product is attributed a protective efficacy (for each filter) of 200 hours of actual use or one year, "which would not be duly proven" according to the Antitrust Authority. Among the other complaints "this type of mask would be improperly compared with personal protective equipment (Dpi) with respect to which, according to the presentation on the website, 'U-Mask has a higher efficiency, comparable to an Ffp3'", passage reported on a laboratory test certificate carried out on the Biolayer layer, the antiproliferative developed by U-Earth. In addition, "U-Mask is not certified as a Dpi but is registered with the Ministry of Health as a" class I "medical device", the Authority continues. A note of this type is however present, to date, on the site.

Other omissions and ambiguities in the information on the site are also contested in relation to the right of withdrawal, the consumer's forum, the legal guarantee of conformity and the extra-judicial complaint and appeal mechanism. At the same time, the Authority initiated a precautionary sub-procedure, aimed at verifying the existence of the conditions for the temporary suspension of this practice, assigning the companies a short deadline for their response.

An investigation is already open on the case to alleged fraud, born from a complaint from a competitor company, on the filtering capabilities of the device. At the end of January, the Milan Public Prosecutor's Office ordered the seizure in ten Milanese pharmacies and in the company's headquarters of 15 U-Mask masks complete with filters and 5 filters to carry out analyzes on their effective filtering capacity and on compliance with what was declared by the 'company.

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