Undertaking relating to weight loss claims (IGEA Life Sciences Pty Ltd / Bodytrim)
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A company which promotes a weight loss product has agreed to clarify claims made in its advertising which Consumer Protection believes may have misled WA consumers and to offer a refund to those customers in WA who believe they have been misled.
IGEA Life Sciences Pty Ltd, the promoter and supplier of Bodytrim, has signed a Court enforceable undertaking with Consumer Protection agreeing to place a corrective advertisement to clarify claims about their product.
Consumer Protection is concerned that claims in some of Bodytrim’s advertisements had the potential to mislead consumers in WA. Consumer Protection considers the advertisements implied that the product:
- does not require a person to diet, when in fact controlling calorie intake and food selection was part of the program;
- provides permanent and/or sustained weight loss; and
- involves scientific processes such as ‘re-setting fat hormones’, when there is no conclusive body of scientific opinion which concludes that weight loss is possible unless energy output exceeds energy input.
The supplier of Bodytrim agreed to place a full page advertisement in The Weekend West which outlined Consumer Protection’s concerns about the claims being made.
The company has also agreed to contact customers in WA who purchased their product between 1 February 2011 and 30 April 2012 and offer a refund, including any delivery costs, to those who establish that they have been misled by the advertising.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said that any supplier making claims in advertising, particularly in the weight loss area, must be careful, especially with suggestions that special scientific processes are involved.
“Claims being made to promote a product must be able to be substantiated with reasonable evidence, otherwise companies risk being in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and therefore face serious consequences,” Ms Driscoll said.
“Under the ACL, consumer protection agencies have the power to issue substantiation notices requiring the advertiser to provide evidence to support their claims. If they cannot provide proof, the company risks prosecution and damage to their reputation.”
Corporations can face fines of up to $1.1 million, or $220,000 for individuals, for making false or misleading representations to consumers in breach of the ACL.
The enforceable undertaking can be viewed on the Consumer Protection website: www.commerce.wa.gov.au/undertakings
Bodytrim customers with enquiries, concerns or complaints can contact Consumer Protection’s Retail branch direct on 08-9282 0823. General enquiries can be sent by email: email@example.com or those who don’t have internet access can call 1300 30 40 54.
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(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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