Boycott Watch  
June 30, 2010
Is Mighty Fixit ™ Safe?
Summary: Famed TV pitchman Anthony Sullivan is selling this product in infomercials. Boycott Watch examined the product and believes it is not safe to use as advertised.

ATTENTION MEDIA: This is a Boycott Watch Exclusive - You Must Credit Boycott Watch In Your Story.
    Boycott Watch has reviewed the infomercial for Mighty Fixit ™, and we question the safety of the product as advertised. One of the uses advertised in the infomercial staring Anthony Sullivan is to repair exposed wires in electrical cords. We started our product safety investigation by speaking with electricians who told us using tape to cover exposed wires is a violation of fire and building codes, and we have yet to find any independent verification of Mighty Fixit ™ product safety, not even from pitchman Anthony Sullivan whom we spoke to on the phone.

   We furthered our investigation of Mighty Fixit ™ by speaking with Steve Silbiger of Plymouth Direct in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania who identified himself as the manufacturer of the product. We asked if the product was tested by Underwriters Laboratories ™, the most credible independent consumer testing service. The following is the conversation between Fred Taub, President of Boycott Watch and Steve Silbiger.

Fred Taub: "Has Mighty Fixit been tested and approved by UL?
Steve Silbiger: "Well, I don't know how to respond to that. It is not UL listed, but it will be. … it is being tested right now."
Fred Taub: "Do you know when you will hear back from the UL?"
Steve Silbiger: "We have several manufacturers"
Fred Taub: "Can you tell me when it will be UL tested"
Steve Silbiger: "I can request that from the manufacturer. I'll send an email right now."

   Steve Silbiger appeared hesitant and unsure in his responses. He did not give any indication of any other product safety certification. Further investigation was certainly in order, starting with the product claims.

   In the infomercial, Anthony Sullivan claims the product is "not a tape" despite the manufacturer calling it tape in our phone call with the Plymouth Direct. Regardless of semantics in the infomercial, if it looks like a tape, is stored like a tape, is applied like a tape and sticks like a tape, we call it tape since it fits the dictionary definition. And, since the 'instructions' link on their website launches a graphic calling itself 'Mighty tape' with the same address, they clearly consider it a tape product too.

The demonstration

Boycott Watch Busts Anthony Sullivan and Mighty Fixit / Mighty Tape   Products advertised with grandiose claims are usually false, and in the infomercial, this product claims to "fix seal and repair virtually anything fast, and make it last." If you read that mighty tape page, you will see "Mighty Tape ™ is ideal for any domestic, electrical, marine, industrial, automotive, military and even aeronautical repairs." Boycott Watch asks, would you want to fly in an aircraft held together by Mighty Tape? The page says "any…aeronautical" but I cannot imagine the FAA would approve that product for aircraft repair.

   Boycott Watch is mainly concerned with one facet of the product. In the infomercial, Anthony Sullivan demonstrates how the product can be used to repair frayed and exposed electric wires. Boycott Watch is concerned with the safety of the product and performed basic research. According to fire codes nationally, using tape to wrap electrical cords is not safe. An example is available on the Corvallis, Oregon Fire Department web page which states "Electrical fire and safety hazards are among the most common problems discovered by firefighters and inspectors during fire & life safety inspections. While some of these hazards require a licensed electrician to be corrected, many problems may be solved simply by rearranging electrical appliances or by the use of approved equipment. … Any cord that is frayed, cracked, or damaged should be replaced (with a cord of the same or larger gauge wire). Wrapping the cord with electrical tape or splicing flexible cords together is not acceptable."

Boycott Watch Busts Anthony Sullivan and Mighty Fixit / Mighty Tape    The following appears in the Codes and Standards of the National Fire Protection Association "5.21.4 The use of tape to repair broken or cracked insulation of jackets on flexible cables or cords shall be prohibited." We also spoke to electricians who agreed exposed wires need to be replaced, not taped over. A firefighter I interviewed said frayed wires are a leading cause of home fires, especially around Christmas when people pull out electrical cords from storage which may have dried out and cracked.

   Our investigation did not stop there. On the U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration website, we found a letter about this very topic stating "Generally, electrical tape may be used to cover superficial damage to cord jackets … when there is no damage beyond the jacket - the conductors have not been scraped or exposed and the insulation inside the jacket has not been displaced or compressed.

   "Section 1926.416(e)(1) provides that "worn or frayed electrical cords or cables shall not be used." And later: "Tape may not be used to repair significant damage to cord jackets." The U.S. government recommends replacing damaged cords, not taping them up as demonstrated in the infomercial. We found this information doing a simple Internet search, making us wonder if due diligence was performed researching the safety of the product. Our next call was to the people who produced the infomercial. Fred Taub details what happened next:

    4:30 PM, June 25, 2010: I called Sullivan Productions, using contact information from their website: 813-254-8585. I identified himself as Fred Taub from Boycott Watch and asked about the safety issue, specifically if Anthony Sullivan is aware applying tape to bare wires violates fire code. The person who answered the phone was clearly shaken by the question and later asked not to be quoted. I was told to call back in an hour. This of course worried me since it was the end of the business day. I called back at exactly 5:30 PM and the conversation when like this."

Person answering the phone: "Data Center"
Me: "Is this Sullivan Productions?"
Person answering the phone: "No, this is Data Center. Who are you calling for?"
Me: "I'm calling for Sullivan Productions."
Person answering the phone: "We don't know who Sullivan Productions is."
Me: "This is the same number I called before"
Sullivan Productions: "Hold a minute"

   While on hold, I heard Sullivan Productions commercials, including the voice of Billy Mays as part of their on hold audio. It was clear I was lied to. Starting a call with blatant lies is not a good way to have people believe anything else you what them to believe. When the person came back a minute later, he said "I'm putting you on speaker phone", which he did.

   Answering the phone was a nice lady. I introduced who I am and asked for her name. She introduced herself as Carla without giving any last name, yet a name I had heard one of the infomercial from Sullivan Productions. I realized she was a key person in their team.

   When I asked if they were aware Mighty Tape, a name used on their website, has not been UL tested, I did not get an answer, just run around by people who wanted to change the topic to evade my question. A voice I recognized as Anthony Sullivan responded "It is not tape! We say so in the commercial."

   From that point on, Anthony Sullivan completely avoided answering questions about product safety and if it was UL tested, claiming his product is not tape. Anthony Sullivan then kept changing the topic to avoid answering any and all questions. It was clear to me that he no intention of providing any information about how and if his product is approved by any independent testing agency for safety. Then he insisted I buy it and try it, transferring me to his sales people. Naturally I did not purchase the product that may not be safe.

Boycott Watch Busts Anthony Sullivan and Mighty Fixit / Mighty Tape    I was very unimpressed with Anthony Sullivan to say the least. I had hoped Anthony Sullivan would have said something to the effect of "I was under the impression it was safe and I will look into it" or perhaps "if there is a problem with the product we will pull our ads," but that was not what I heard. Instead, Anthony Sullivan went on the offensive, as if he felt consumers have no right to ask him any questions about the products he sells, and deserve no answers from him.

   Companies which care about their customers perform due diligence work to make sure their products are safe before offering it to the public, and if a problem is brought to their attention later, they take action. Boycott Watch did not see that with Anthony Sullivan. Boycott Watch is a consumer advocacy organization and we welcome documentation from the people behind Mighty Fixit ™ proving the product is safe for the applications they advertise. So far, they told us it has not been UL tested and we question why anyone would advertise any product which has questionable safety. In the past, Boycott Watch posted an article praising Anthony Sullivan, but after this investigation, we retract that praise and no longer trust anything Anthony Sullivan markets.

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