Power Balance instructed to withdraw claims and advertising

Power Balance have been called out to withdraw their claims and advertising by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration(TGA).

There's a very good report on this by the Vic Skeptics.

I'm not sure what the local equivalent of the TGA is but I'm wondering if they will do the same or if we need to follow suit and make a complaint ourselves. I'm also wondering if this will have any impact on sales here in NZ.

The TGA is notorious for not having the teeth to enforce their rulings, is the local equivalent just as impotent?

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Trademe have heaps of

Trademe have heaps of listings. I've just reported about 30 Power Balance auctions with the "seller intends to defraud" flag and the following message;

Power Balance make fraudulent claims about the efficacy of their product. The Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia (where the NZ Distributor of this product is based) recently examined this product and found in favour of the complainant.


Since this finding Power Balance were requested to post the following retraction on their site; http://vicskeptics.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/pb-retraction-full-size.jpg

While they have not posted the retraction if you check Power Balance Australia or New Zealand now you will not find any claims about what the product does anymore.

Given the media attention Power Balance has received recently it's implausible, though not impossible, that the seller is unaware of this. Which, in turn, makes it likely that they're selling this product knowing it's true nature, making the listing fraudulent.

While I'm focusing on the Power Balance listings I find it sad to see the number of other bogus listings there that have a stupid number of bids on them. "Stupid" in this case referring to any number greater than zero.

These guys haven't got the

These guys haven't got the message:

I've made a complaint with the ASA, but maybe a consumer complaint might be better?

Also, I notice that on the "official" NZ power balance site, they are sponsoring various sports events. It might be worth contacting the events organisers?

we should be able to use the fair trading act

and then let the Consumer affairs ministry do the enforcement work. I keep seeing a lot of these things in the wild now. No helped by the NZ league team wearing them and inspiring people to go out and buy them.

Hmmmm the web site makes no claims......

No claims on their website?

That's interesting. It suggests they're following at least part of the TGA instructions. I'm wondering if the TGA's actions have had a cascade effect over the rest of their sites.

There's a full list of distributors in NZ that we could target. Looking at the list it's mostly bike/motorcycle/golf/sports shops and chiropractors.

I find it entertaining that there isn't a single real doctor promoting this stuff.

I'll try and get into a store today and see if the claims are actually on the packaging.

Shop assistants are unwitting accomplices

I can see that the PB site cleverly no longer makes any wild claims, however, the shop assistants (eg Stirling Sports, Northlands) who sell the bands are the ones who unknowingly make the claims of "core strength, balance, flexibility", etc.
This relieves the onus of proof from PB. The site only says things like "users have reported the following benefits... blah blah blah".
I was even told by the shop assistant that the body produces 7.5 amps (!), and that the band harnesses and regulates this flow.
When quizzed as to how it actually works (and whether it uses different laws of physics from all other objects on earth), they simply stated the 'reported benefits' as factual.
To be fair, the assistant was in fact wearing a power balance band, so cognitive dissonance was probably at work.
Nobody likes to realise that they are a complete mug, and they've been utterly had.