The Monterey County district attorney is crediting the San Diego City Attorney’s Office with providing the research that allowed the two agencies to prosecute a popular gadget store for selling personal alcohol breathalyzers that were bunk.

The Sharper Image agreed to discontinue the sale of these handheld testers and paid $1.2 million in refunds and $100,000 in penalties for falsely advertising the devices’ accuracy. The city and Monterey County argued that the devices, marketed under model numbers BT 300, BT 301 and BT 302, were not within the 0.001 blood-alcohol content margin of error that was listed on the box.

The city compared tests of the Sharper Image devices with those taken with San Diego Police Department breathalyzers.

Consumers who purchased the defective models can contact Sharper Image directly for a refund.


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