OFFICE OF FAIR
TRADING News Release (83/08) issued by The Government News Network
on 15 July 2008
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
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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