Office of Fair Trading
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OFT stops misleading claims regarding 'fat burning beads'
The OFT has
obtained assurances from a Hong Kong based company that it will no
longer market its 'fat burning' Accu-Slim Beads in the
Global DM Licensing sent mailings to UK consumers, under the name The AccuSlim Centre, claiming that the Accu-Slim Bead was a 'fat burning acupuncture without needles, diets, exercise, or effort'. It was claimed that by placing one Accu-Slim Bead behind the ear each day users could eat as much as they liked and still lose 'at least 30 pounds in the next 30 days' as the bead stimulated the acupressure points that trigger 'automatic weight loss'.
Other misleading claims included that the Accu-Slim Bead worked 'faster than total starvation' and that users could 'have the rake-slim body of a size 8 model'.
Accu-Slim Beads were marketed as 'a safe and proven method to lose all your excess weight once and for all, without the slightest chance of failure' and the company claimed that permanent results were guaranteed.
Consumer testimonials included in the marketing said some women had lost up to`64lbs in seven weeks.' Consumers were invited to buy packages of up to 120 beads for £65 (which was stated to be discounted down from £130) to lose 85lbs and more.
The OFT contacted Global DM Licensing to express concerns over the potentially misleading claims being made, and requested evidence to support the claims.
The company responded by providing clinical papers highlighting various studies that had taken place in relation to acupuncture, but did not provide satisfactory proof of the claims made in the mailing. Global DM Licensing admitted that, whilst they believed that sham acupuncture worked as well as acupuncture, they were unable to demonstrate with scientific evidence that all its claims were true and the company gave an assurance that it would stop sending Accu-Slim Bead mailings to UK consumers. The company has also undertaken to adopt stricter policies for the development of future advertising concepts to ensure compliance with UK law.
Mike Haley, OFT Head of Consumer Protection said:
'Every year thousands of people fall victim to misleading claims about products that promise weight loss without exercise or dieting. The OFT will continue to take action against such companies to stop them from exploiting consumers.'
1. Research commissioned by the OFT involving 11,200 interviews found that an estimated 200,000 UK consumers fall victim to misleading miracle health and slimming cure claims every year, losing around £20 million.
2. The OFT previously obtained assurances from Global DM Licensing in relation to claims made about 'Slim- Choc' (see press release 4/07) and 'Gi capsules' (see press release 169/07).
3. The OFT has launched an interactive guide designed to help people understand how misleading slimming mailings work. The guide contains 'pop-up' text highlighting the tricks used to convince people that the offers are genuine. The interactive guide can be found in the scams area of the Consumer Direct website.
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