Dealers Use False Claims to Sell Cookware

ByABC News via logo
February 26, 2002, 6:32 PM

Feb. 26 -- Two years ago, Tom and Victoria Garret spent $1,000 on cookware, thinking that the pots and pans they would cook with would shield their future family from disease.

Now, the couple believes they were tricked into the purchase by salespeople who told them that other types of cookware such as non-stick pans can cause chemical reactions in the pan that lead to health problems.

"I thought, my goodness, if we want to have kids we don't want to give toxic fumes to the child, so we bought into the scam," said Victoria Garrett.

The Virginia salespeople who sold the couple their set of Royal Prestige cookware told them that the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health endorsed the products, the couple said. But the cookware is not endorsed by either of those prestigious health organizations.

It is not the first time that some distributors of Royal Prestige cookware have been accused of deceptive sales practices, Good Morning America Consumer Correspondent Greg Hunter found. Royal Prestige cookware distributors have already run into trouble with attorneys general in two states, and Hunter's investigation found that some cookware salespeople are still going full steam ahead with scare tactics to sell pots and pans.

The Aluminum Connection?

Steve Pollack, who runs a franchise selling Royal Prestige, is part of a nationwide system of houseware dealers who market the cookware directly to groups. Like Pollack, many dealers target newlyweds and engaged couples, luring them into attending cookware sales presentation by offering them free vacations at four-star beach hotels.

At one such presentation in Westbury, N.Y., Pollack compared some aluminum cookware with Royal Prestige cookware, which is made of stainless steel.

"This is the absolute worst," Pollack told his audience, holding aloft some aluminum cookware. "Aluminum is the cause of Alzheimer's. Aluminum is the worst thing for you."

The salesman went on to describe the supposed impacts of aluminum on the human body.