Power Balance removed from Trade Me

So, in the last few days it was suggested that I should start listing the Placebo Bands on Trade Me with a more... honest description of what these things do. i.e. nothing.

As I started composing the listing I wondered where to list them and searched for them so where others had listed them. I want to say that I was surprised how many listings there were, but I wasn't. :/ Then I had another thought that wouldn't be as taxing on my wordology. (read: faster) I hunted out a few links (thanks to VicSkeptics for the great post), composed a message and started reporting the listings as "user intends to defraud". I hit the first couple of pages of results for a search on "power balance bands" and submitted about 30 reports all with the same explanation. I stuck to Power Balance as the report from the TGA was specific to that company.

I wasn't sure if anything would come of it but...

Trade Me Support to gold
show details 15:12 (28 minutes ago)
Dear Citizen,

Thanks for reporting the listing for: GENUINE POWER BALANCE BAND - SMALL WHITE (3 DAYS).

The Trade Me Customer Support Team have reviewed the listing and has deemed that it is in breach of our terms and conditions. As a result the listing has been removed from the site.

Thank you for bringing this listing to our attention and making Trade Me a better place to buy and sell.

Happy trading

Trade Me Customer Support

These have started arriving. I have a few so far and they all appear to be the same.

I may make a habit of trawling through Trade Me regularly to report these and maybe extend it out to cover the other brands too.

I'd encourage others to do the same. It's a small victory, but it brings a smile to my face. :)

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Down to 7

Wow. Only 7 listing hit when searching for Power Balance now. Have just reported them to Community Watch.

trust me to go on the limb for my first post but....

as frustrating as I find people who loudly invest in such “technology”, do these bands not serve a purpose? If I was in a room with two very handsome men, and one was wearing a band, well, it makes my life a whole lot easier doesn’t it? If I was interviewing two candidates for a job, same scenario... it’s like the gimpy peacock, he saves you the trouble of enduring drinks and dinner by demonstrating his steadfast position in the shallow end of the gene pool. Where homeopathic remedies proclaim to cure serious conditions and people choose to risk their health... sure, paint a red question mark over those claims but sometimes...in the same and sometimes harsh way of nature, I think it’s just easier to live and let die.

It's like the warning label on a toaster that says "dont use me in the bath". Why get in the way of natural selection?

Maybe i'm just selfishly tired of trying to patiently drum reason into some people?

just puttin' it out there...

Heh. :) I can see your

Heh. :) I can see your point, however ignorance is something that can easily be treated and if ignorance is the only reason they've been suckered into something it's better to give them the chance. If you pointed out the issue with the bands and they admitted they'd heard and still believed then yeah, darwin in action all the way.

I'd rather give people the chance to learn before giving up on anyone...

power bands

Yes, you would hope that upon having the power band explained to them most people would agree they were farcical but if they didn’t, the resulting mental trauma it would cause me would make me ever regret spending any time with such person. Patience is not my strong suit and that’s usually why I remain coy about my atheism as rationalizing with those who are ardently religious, about anything nonsensical is usually about as much fun and rewarding to me as poking a spoon in my eye. So I will leave it to the generous ones such as you to enlighten. Until I develop such patience, I’m just going to smile, and nod.

Complain to TradeMe using Fair Trading Act 1986

I have found that TradeMe best responds to complaints about Power Balance when NZ Law is used.
The following text is a suggested template which can be 'customised' for EFX, Eken, NRG and all the other magic rubber bands:
At the very least, this is a "suspicious" auction, as per TradeMe's help pages, and I ask: How suspicious does it have to get before TradeMe acts?

Seller makes wild and incredible pseudo-scientific gibberish statements and representations about this item: "Power Balance is performance technology" and "Power Balance holograms are embedded with frequencies that react positively with your body's natural energy field".

These are proven fraudulent statements which have no credible scientific basis whatsoever.

Also, and most importantly, TradeMe's Code of Conduct (http://www.trademe.co.nz/help/415/code-of-conduct) states that sellers will "describe items fully and accurately".
TradeMe also mentions the Fair Trading Act 1986 (http://www.trademe.co.nz/Partners/Content.aspx?id=50), which very clearly states that making false representations about items for sale is illegal.

The representations made about this item fall directly under the auspices of the Fair Trading Act. The seller represents that the item for sale will "improve balance, strength and flexibility".

"Power Balance" has been well and truly exposed as a scam, and censured by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Power Balance has admitted that it has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct:
http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/964065 and http://www.powerbalance.com/australia/ca

Given all the media attention Power Balance and all the others like it have received recently, it is hard to see how the seller is unaware of the fact that it is a scam.

I strongly urge you to make TradeMe a safe and trustworthy place, and remove the item from auction

Trade Me starts to remove falsely advertised magical stuff

Well... stuff with similar magical claims as Power Balance, but not specifically Power Balance.

listing numbers 358788975, 358302111, 358651438, 357622897, 357295722, 358226283

"Dear xxxxxxx,
Thanks for reporting the listing for: ENERGY PENDANT-SCALAR QUANTUM.
The Trade Me Customer Support Team have reviewed the listing and has deemed that it is in breach of our terms and conditions. As a result the listing has been removed from the site.
Thank you for bringing this listing to our attention and making Trade Me a better place to buy and sell.
Happy trading
Trade Me Customer Support"

"Thanks for reporting the listing for: BB BALANCE BRACELET"...
"Thanks for reporting the listing for: SE (SCALAR ENERGY) TUMBLER"...

It seems the TradeMe, New Zealand's monopoly auction website, is finally doing as they claim they will. In an email exchange with TradeMe, "Phillip" of TradeMe Support stated that "We do take items that are falsely advertised seriously and we will remove listing if they do so".

I reported the items to TradeMe on the basis that the Sellers were falsely advertising the items by claiming that the items did things which were clearly impossible.
The complaint text is similar to this:

"Seller claims item will: "Improve blood circulation".
This claim is false. If it were true, placing a rock on the skin would make the area under the rock become red, which it does not. Seller is listing an item which is fraudulently and falsely advertised.
The seller also states that: "When you wear it, it keeps the water in your body grouped into small cell-penetrating clusters".
This is completely false. Water cannot "cluster" or "group".
Seller also states: "This easy passage of water into and out of our cells...".
This is completely false. Water does not pass "into and out of our cells"."

In addition...

Conversations with the NZ Commerce Commission reveal that they are sadly mostly toothless. When reasoning people jumped for joy in December at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's ruling against Power Balance, many people here, myself included, thought it would be an easy extension for our Commerce Commission to follow suit and prosecute NZ Power Balance and similar scumbags (EFX, Eken, NRG, TrionZ, etc) for fraud.
Sadly, the truth is that NZ does not have the same laws as in Australia. NZ law does not give the Commerce Commission the power to demand proof when someone makes a claim (magical or otherwise) about a product or service, etc.
Instead, the Commerce Commission has to pick and choose very carefully which scumbags that they will "go after", as the Commerce Commission inevitably has to foot the expensive bill for testing, etc, rather than the scumbags.
Unfortunately, it means that small-time scumbags, like those who peddle their rubbish on TradeMe, are unlikely ever to be held accountable or forced to change what they say
TradeMe is simply applying the letter of the law. Can't argue with that.
NZ law is unlikely to change much in the near future, either.

But!!! TradeMe could be pressured into changing what they do. They 'could' start demanding proof of claims if they wanted to. It is a private enterprise, and members have to follow site rules.
All TradeMe has to do is alter their rules (or perhaps even enforce them better!) to ensure that the onus of proof is on the Seller when claims are made.

This wouldn't have to be a bold or radical move at all.
It would simply mean that Sellers who claim to have gravity-altering devices should have to prove that they actually do!

I suggest that concerned people start writing to TradeMe to demand they they do this.
The result would be that TradeMe would *actually* become what they claim to be, and that is "making Trade Me a better place to buy and sell".

Another knock-on would be that politicians would find it very easy to pass legislation which would mirror TradeMe's courageous stance. And we would all be better off for that!

TV3News on Power Band

WooHoo! :) Thanks for the

WooHoo! :)

Thanks for the links Danny.

Power Balance all but band in Australia

A bracelet worn by high profile sports stars that claims to improve athletic performance has been exposed as a sham by the consumer watchdog.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ordered Power Balance Australia to refund all customers who feel they were misled by the supposed benefits of Power Balance bracelets.


Now to do the same in New Zealand...

No more power balance...?

There are no more listings that I can find on TradeMe for any Power Balance bands or bracelets, no "health bands" except some 'TRION Z' ones (equally bogus), no "power bands"... seemingly nothing.
I wonder of TradeMe has finally decided that the almost threat of prosecution of Aussie retailers of the Power Balance products is enough for it to remove any and all from the site.
Will have to wait and see if any others crop up.
Yeah!!! (does a power balance backflip to celebrate)

oops... must edit that... I was looking in the wrong place. There are still magic rubber bands for sale :-(
Oh well... wishful thinking then

Currently 10 listings

Just about to report them all... :)

Benefit from the healing power of _real_ placebos!

Nice work! Thinking of placebos, have you seen http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/wellbeing/4489543/Why-placebos-may-wor...?

A medicine man's mask and a couple of football rattlers would go down nicely. :)

Sequoia mentioned this study

Sequoia mentioned this study to me the other day and I got her to hunt out where she had read about it: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2010/12/more_dubious_statements_about_... However this post's comments aside I'm not sure why the surprise that knowing something is a placebo may reduce the placebo effect rather than negating it.



There was a steady decline in

There was a steady decline in listings right up until 5.30pm last night. Its just gone 9.30am. I'm suspecting people are back at work and we can hopefully expect the last 32 listings to disappear shortly. :)

Great work

I too have done a similar reporting of any Power Balance or similar products.
I reported the similar products on the basis that Power Balance has been removed and therefore these other products should also be removed, as, for all intents and purposes, they are identical. The fact that they don't have a ruling against them is immaterial. Trademe should apply the same standards to all.
We shall see if listings start being removed.

Nice work powerbalance

Nice work powerbalance http://m.gizmodo.com/5723577/powerbalance-admits-their-wristbands-are-a-... and it now has gone viral

And now, from the BBC...


Yet more exposing of the hocus-pocus.
If the emperor has no clothes, the emperor has no clothes!

Real evidence that politians are stupid!

A sad indictment on New Zealanders... Almost, but not quite, so bad as Ray Comfort.


As much as I love to bag

As much as I love to bag national the image says Prime Minister John Key models the new RWC 2011 volunteer's uniform - and his new Power Balance wristband. Photo / Natalie Slade. Based on that and the text of the article it could be easily explained by someone going up to him and saying 'oh yeah a lot of sportsmen[1] wear this' in which case it's a little more understandable. If you just think it's a part of what such people wear why not? Has anyone seen him wearing one before or since? It's not exactly new news that power band bracelets are popular with people into their sports.

[1] Using the quickly becoming antiquated sense of it including both genders. Altough I'm yet to see a female sportsman promoting power band bracelets...

Opening a book on how loh it

Opening a book on how loh it will take for @powerbalance to claim endorsement by the PM of NZ.

Any takers? ;)