In a move that has been welcomed by skeptical groups all over the world, an Australian consumer watchdog group, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has instructed Power Balance to cease making misleading claims about their silicone bracelets.
The performance sports bracelets, which have gained considerable popularity via high profile athlete endorsements, have become an essential fashion accessory around the globe, making millions for the company. Their popularity has also sparked dozens of copy cat products, to such an extent that the company established a section on their website where consumers can report a fake.
The bracelets cost between $30 and $60 AUD and the pendants $90 and are claimed to increase strength, performance and flexibility. The “magic” is in the embedded hologram which is designed to “resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body”. But when asked to provide evidence for such claims, Power Balance admitted that “there is no credible scientific basis for the claims and therefore no reasonable grounds for making representations about the benefits of the product”.
A toll free Power Balance refund line has been set up and refunds are bring offered to all consumers who felt they have been misled.
The ACCC has directed the company to;
• remove misleading claims from their website and packaging
• publish advertising informing consumers that they made claims that could not be substantiated
• offer refunds to all consumers who feel they may have been misled and
• remove the words “performance technology” from the band itself.
The latter presumably means the company will have to manufacture new stock and packaging for sale in Australia.
The ACCC has also indicated that retailers who continue to sell the bands in their current form risk prosecution. The ruling might be the first move to make a dent in the enormous success of this expensive placebo in Australia. Unlike the HCCC and the TGA, the ACCC has a history of taking legal action against companies that continue to practice misleading and deceptive conduct. This includes the alternative health providers Advanced Allergy Elimination and NuEra.
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