Click this link for the previous article in our Truth Week series: Could You Define, “Truth”?
Broken Hartz would like to start Truth Week off deep in the heart of the Amazon.com.
Truthfairy made an appearance on this website, famous for its online shopping experience, in December of 2008. A good product review on a site like Amazon could really boost sales for poor old Hartz, so Truthfairy took it upon herself to do just that.
Truthfairy was just so over the moon about her experience with “Hartz UltraGuard Pro Drops for Cats over 5 Lbs”, she decided it was her duty to make an Amazon account, tell the world how awesomely glorious this product was and then disappear as quickly as she came.
Would she ever be seen again? Well, it’s called “Truth Week”, so signs point to “yes”.
To be clear, Truthfairy reviewed this product 7 months before anyone else, but we’ll get to her review after we look at some of the other reviews that resulted in this product earning 1.5 out of a possible 5 stars. As you’ll see, however, this product benefited greatly by people not being able to give it a zero star rating.
On an additional note, before we go into the reviews, Broken Hartz normally cites typos in order to be clear when the error is known, but has not come from us. In the case of these reviews, BH decided it would be best to just let it go.
Lastly, if you plan on engaging in the cringe-worthy act of scanning, please make sure you don’t miss “overpriced plastic needle that may poison your pet”.
1 Star – Not only useless, it harmed our cats – November 8, 2010
By M. Peacock
If I could give this zero stars, I would. We have 2 indoor cats and clearly bring fleas in on ourselves from the yard. I thought I was being smart by spending less for this product. Never again will I buy a cheaper product. Not only did these drops not work at all, both cats developed scary side effects, including strange shaking (mini seizures?), drooling, unusual meowing, vomiting and a week-long loss of appetite. After seeing this I read some of the reviews on this product and similar inexpensive drops and can see that it pays to spend more on a more trustworthy product. I hate having to put pesticides on our cats but it is pretty clear to me that the companies that make the more expensive brands really do put their time and money into making sure their products are (what I would call reasonably) safe.
1 Star – rating: 00000000 – March 30, 2011
By Alex Mogell
My indoor cat, Snowy got a few fleas on her recently, so I went to Petsmart and bought this product. Not good. About an hour after I put it in the back of her neck, she clearly was not feeling well. Her eyes were squinting and she developed this awful twitching, and drooling. She then defecated on our bedroom floor, which she has never ever ever done outside of her box in her whole 8 yrs of life.
I immediatly bathed her with Dawn as another person suggested that they did when this happened to their cat, and we just got out of the tub. She is now cleaning herself after her bath and I hope to God she is going to be fine. I have the emergency Vets number handy just in case.
I plan to go to Petsmart tomorrow and return this product and give them a big piece of my mind.
DO NOT USE THIS PRODUCT ON YOUR CAT!!!!
1 Star – overpriced plastic needle that may poison your pet – July 2, 2011
Talk about getting ripped off: Around half of the regular retail price you pay for this garbage goes towards buying a plastic needle, there is no compositional difference between the Hartz Ultraguard PLUS and Hartz ultraguard PRO, you are being taken for the proverbial ride. And if that wasn’t enough to steer you away, then read on.
I bought some and put it on my cat once, apparently I’m lucky she only ended up with a grease spot on her back that lasted a week and made me want to touch her even less when added to the still-rampant flea infestation. My girlfriend used it on her two cats as well, one was fine but it almost killed the other.
I’m pretty sure that when Frontline and Advantage came out, the people at Hartz realized that their entire stock of flea collars was now useless (as if they ever worked to start with), so they decided to take all their inventory and put it in a blender, then put it into these little plastic squeezers. I hope so because if they purposely formulated this product they ought to be incarcerated.
Most useless products try to sell themselves with gimmicky names like: Hartz ULTRAguard. Now let’s put the facts straight: Hartz made their bottom of the line 3-pack flea that cost $6. Then they made their Hartz ULTRAguard PLUS which they’ll sell to you for $8, and then you can go out and buy this product: Hartz ULTRAguard PRO, with it’s “PRO-cision Flo” applicator for around $13.
Why would you want to control the flow, (oh sorry, it’s FLO apparently) when you’re putting it all in one spot anyway and using the whole thing? These people have no shame.
Does it work? NO
Is it worth the money? NO
Will I be better off setting my money on fire? YES.
1 Star – Hartz = Poison – June 9, 2011
DO NOT buy this stuff! I wish I had seen reviews first. After the first application, my cat nearly died. We’ve been to the vet twice and spent hundreds trying to save him. His inner eyelids are swollen shut, and he can hardly breathe. All I can do at this point is pray that he survives and gets at least some of his energy back.
There is an entire website dedicated to victims of Hartz products: HartzVictims.org. I wish I could give this product zero stars.
1 Star – do not use this stuff – June 8, 2011
This product made my cat extremely sick, to the point that she was vomiting and having convulsions. It took her two days to get back to normal, and she had giant open sores where the drops had been applied. AND, it didn’t even get rid of the fleas.
Just google Hartz and you’ll see all the horror stories that people have about their products making their animals sick and even killing them.
1 Star – Caustic – August 13, 2011
We have used Advantage for years without any problems. Recently tried Hertz Ultraguard Pro to save a couple dollars since our cat has become strictly indoors. This stuff is CAUSTIC! Immediately after applying it our cat was visably distressed. Then his HAIR STARTED FALLING OUT on the back of his neck. There were clumps of hair around the house and his skin was inflamed. I bathed him and he is much happier, albeit minus some neck hair. We will NEVER use this product again. It should be renamed Hartz Ultra Chemical Burn Drops.
1 Star – Dangerous product can cause death. – May 30, 2011
I normally give my pets Frontline. I ran out and bought this at Target instead. As soon as I gave it to them, I looked it up online (which I should have done before applying). Many animals have become very sick and died from this product. I immediately washed it off and called my vet. My vet confirmed that many animals have come into the office sick and/or dying from this product and other Hartz products, and warned me not to ever use it again. Apparently I’m very lucky that my cats did not have seizures or worse. Please do not buy this dangerous product.
1 Star – Hartz causes seizures – October 21, 2010
Tried Hartz Ultraguard Pro on my cat and she began to seize, tremor, and vomit. DO NOT use any Hartz products on your pets. I wish that I had looked into the brand before I bought it because I would have found websites like hartzvictims.org and hartzsyndrome.com which, just by the names of them, would have told me to steer clear of this product. I wanted to try Hartz to save some money, but ended up spending way more money on a vet bill. Thank God my cat is okay, otherwise I would be going after Hartz with everything I have.
If I could give this product 0 stars, I would.
So, what did Truthfairy say about this product long before all the less-than-stellar reviews?
5 Stars – Love the applicator – product really works, too. – December 5, 2008
I just used this product on my two cats. I’ve used their products before, but I’d never tried the Pro version. I have a short-haired Burmese and a long-haired American Domestic. The little applicator gismo really helped apply the product right to where it’s supposed to go. I have one squirmy cat and this just went right through her fur so easily and took the stress out of it for me. The flea problem was also dealt with efficiently. You have to follow the instructions they give you, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, and you can’t beat the price.
In Response to “Love the applicator – product really works, too.”, by Truthfairy:
Integrity in Reviews said – August 9, 2009:
“Truthfairy” is none other than Hartz Mountain Corporation’s lead veterinarian, Dr. Melinda Fernyhough. We all ought to thank her for her “unbiased, objective” review. Hartz Mountain uses these kind of tactics all over the internet and through their media and consumer communications. They have a terrible safety record with their flea and tick products over the years and they combine that with misinformation, obfuscation and a new website called, “the truth about Hartz”. Can you imagine why a responsible corporate citizen would need their own website to run a “truth” campaign. No wonder thousands of pet owners are anguished and even the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is concerned.
Of course, Truthfairy was long gone in this instance, but you’ll notice a pattern of silence from Truthfairy whenever Dr. Melinda’s name is mentioned throughout Truth Week. Of course, it’s quite possible Truthfairy is not Dr. Melinda, but the odds of Truthfairy being anything other than a Hartz troll is highly improbable as evidenced by this chart:
The term “shill” typically refers to someone who purposely gives consumers the impression he or she is a random enthusiastic reviewer, when in fact they are secretly working for the company or organization being reviewed.
It should come as no surprise that shilling is illegal in many circumstances and jurisdictions, since it’s clearly an act of fraud. This infraction is heightened in cases such as this, where the act of deception puts consumers and their pets at considerable, unnecessary risk.
In the interest of presenting an even handed story, we like to end with some of the more positive reviews this product received:
5 Stars – Works Great For My Two Cats – June 11, 2010
I have been using this product for several months on both my cats and it has, by far, been the most effective in repelling fleas compared to anythibg else I have tried. I had to shave off a quarter sized patch of hair on the back of there necks to apply it, (she just LOVED that) but I have a long haired cat and that may not be necessary for every cat. You cannot let your cat try to lick it off of themselves because it may make them sick, thats why it is applied on back of neck, so be careful when using and be sure to read the directions. Very Easy to use.
I was a little desturbed by the review claiming that this product will kill your pet. All I can say about that is I have been using this exact same product, on and off for a couple of years and I have encounterd no problems whatsoever regarding cat’s health. It doe make me a little weiry but it’s the only thing that I have found that works very well in repelling fleas. Plus, the stuff smells really good too, kinda like a nice women’s fragrance. This stuff does work.
2 Stars – Been using this for 3 months – August 15, 2010
So far my cats still have fleas, but they aren’t dead or sick. I plan to try something else next time.
Truth Week continues tomorrow.
Click this link for the next article in our Truth Week series: Total “Voluntary” Recall