Thursday, April 20, 2006

Slender Evidence for Woo Machine

Apparently people can claim that they talk to animals and that the animals talk back to them (for money), that they talk to the dead and the dead talk back to them (for money), that water that was once in touch with a single molecule of another substance can heal (for money), that holes in your aura can be repaired (for money) etc etc (you know the routine) with impunity.

EoR was surprised, therefore, to discover that claiming a product could

  • tone and firm any part of the body with no effort by the user

  • provide the user with the benefit of a workout without exercise

  • reduce the user's weight

  • reduce the user's body measurements by an inch or more

  • give the user, in 40 minutes per day, the equivalent of 300 general exercises

  • flatten the user's stomach without effort, and

  • eliminate or conquer cellulite

were not supported by evidence and contravened the consumer protection provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

At least, this is the view of the Australian Federal Court, which has heard a case brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission against Slendertone. Nonetheless, the penalty imposed is, in EoR's opinion, only slightly better than being spanked with a damp cabbage leaf:
Justice Nicholson also made orders against Slendertone and EOD restraining them and Mr O'Donoghue from making similar claims in the future; for Mr O'Donoghue to attend a trade practices law compliance seminar; for the companies to publish corrective notices in the Women's Health and Ultrafit magazines, two prominent newspapers and its website to inform the public of the court's decision and to pay the ACCC's costs.

Certainly, Slendertone now appears to have effectively been put out of business (though it appears it was a one man operation) and Slendertone's Australian website now seems to consist of a single page with the ordered corrective notice. Of course, this doesn't seem to stop other Australian sites promoting the exact same devices, nor sites overseas, including the international domain

The desperate and the gullible will still be well served by these purveyors of scam machines (for money).

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