20 most worthless pieces of junk: #6 -- The Ionic Breeze

ioinic breezeThere are products that are clunkers, and then there are products that destroy otherwise healthy companies. The Ionic Breeze falls into the latter category.

The Ionic Breeze was initially a major success, propelling shares of The Sharper Image to all-time highs, but the trouble began in 2002 whenConsumer Reports tested The Ionic Breeze and found that the product was "ineffective." The Sharper Image sued, but after a series of courtroom setbacks settled the case -- by agreeing to pay $525,000 to Consumer Reports to cover its legal expenses.But that was only the beginning: A couple years after the Ionic Breeze expose, The Sharper Image itself reported that the machines could be dangerous because of the trace amounts of ozone they pump into the air. The huge amounts of negative publicity drove the company's sales into the ground, and the ensuing class-action lawsuit finally drove the company into bankruptcy on February 19th of 2008.

Companies produce lousy products all the time but ironically, the runaway success of the Ionic Breeze ultimately led to the company's downfall -- and the shareholders who lost hundreds of millions of dollars now wish the company had never head of the Ionic Breeze.
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