The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has spanked my old buddies Power balance in a release today: Powerbalance officially admits it is a scam.

Background: Powerbalance and the stupid morons it brings to my website

You may have read my earlier two posts on Power balance: the first on Fake powerband scam? Power balance is Snake oil in bracelet form and the second on How to spot a fake power balance bracelet.

Powerbalance "performance"

Powerbalance "performance"

I have a lot of hits of people utterly convinced the things work, reckon I’m stupid for doubting it.. But for some reason they have arrived via google searches worried they might have a fake one that doesn’t work (yeah, I know: they aren’t very bright..). Queries like:

etc

The curse of stupidity: power balance

The curse of stupidity: power balance

I was even resorting to offering firstly a $1,000 and then $5,000 bet that Power balance would not do anything beyond a placebo in a proper scientific double blind test. The details were that if I won I would donate the money to charity (so I could in no way personally profit from the venture). Unsurprisingly when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is: they suddenly disappear.

The ACCC spanking

Here’s what the ACCC released:

Power Balance Australia Pty Ltd (Power Balance) claimed that their wristbands and pendants improve balance, strength and flexibility and worked positively with the body’s natural engergy field. It also marketed its products with the slogan “Performance Technology”. These claims made by Power Balance were not supported by any credible scientific evidence and therefore Power Balance has admitted that it has engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in breach of s 52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

So I presume that this information will be known to Power balance head office in the USA (and thus on to other countries). So I think that means that they are actively misleading the rest of the world. Can someone please get a class action lawsuit in the USA on these chumps ASAP.

Wait for the best bits which are the conditions placed upon Power balance:

To address the ACCC’s concerns, Power Balance has undertaken that it will:

  • not make any claims about its products that are not supported by a written report from an independent testing body that meets certain standards;
  • offer a refund to consumers who feel they have been misled;
  • publish corrective advertising to prevent consumers from being misled in the future;
  • amend the Australian website to remove any misleading representations;
  • remove the words ‘performance technology’ from the brand itself; and
  • implement a compliance program.

Time to update the Power balance website
So here’s how their website should have looked:

How I would do the powerbalance page if it had to be truthful.

How I would do the powerbalance page if it had to be truthful.

Instead of this page they always had a “coming soon” type page on the Australian one. If nothing else it’ll cost them to remove their “performance technology” from their product. Good.
I think they should also have to fix all international pages because what do people do if the page is not there: they search on the USA/overseas sites.
Hey, maybe there’s hope for them in RMIT’s double blind scientific tests of holographic power bands.

My report to the ACCC’s SCAMWatch website
Here’s the report I lodged some months ago, I hope it was instrumental in bringing power balance to the ACCC’s attention. I’m glad they paid attention to my comment about the “technology” bit of their slogan.

Confirmation

Top of Form
The ACCC appreciates the time you have taken to report this scam. The ACCC receives many reports of scams. This information greatly assists us to monitor scam trends and take action where appropriate. A record of your report will be kept and if any further information is required, you may be contacted by ACCC staff. If you want advice about how to deal with a scam, please review the information on this website. You may also wish to contact the SCAMwatch Information Line on 1300 795 995.

You submitted the following:
Scamwatch complaint lodged by Mr Nathan Lee

Complainant details
Name:Mr Nathan Lee
*snip snip*chopped out some stuff*snip snip*
How did the scammer contact you?Internet
Details of the scammer (business, company, group or individual)
Name:Powerbalance LLC
Street address:Unit 2, 173 Salmon St.
Suburb / Town:Port Melbourne
State:Vic
Country:Australia
Postcode:3207
Phone number:+61 3 96467249
Email:
URL: http://www.powerbalance.com
ABN:
ACN:
Other names:
What type of scam was it?
Health & medical (including weight-loss, miracle cures)
What problems did you experience?

* Misleading or deceptive information about the product/service/business
* Overpriced or sub-standard goods
* Too good to be true

Money
Did you pay / transfer / lose money to the scammer? false

Briefly describe the scam (including any information not covered by the questions above):

Claims which have been tested on national TV and found to be false. Product is a placebo, sold for an exorbitant price. Calling a rubber band and sticker “technology” is crazy. Makes claims like “optimizing the body’s natural energy flow”,improve “core strength” and have no basis for these claims.
Bottom of Form

One holoscam down.. An awful lot still to go.

Update: Oh, but if you want a hologram bracelet infused with truthishness rather than scamishness: try the placebo bands from the skeptic bros. Unlike all these other garbage products: this one is actually honest and goes to charity if there are any profits left over from the $2 sale price!

Update: Here’s the Ad from powerbalance:

Power balance admits they are a scam.

Power balance admits they are a scam.

14 Responses to “Power balance admits misleading and deceptive conduct”

  1. [...] See newer post about Power balance admitting they were deceptive. No longer able to make any of the claims in Australia. So before you start going on at me: power [...]

  2. [...] See newer post about Power balance admitting they were deceptive. No longer able to make any of the claims in Australia. So before you start going on at me: power [...]

  3. on 23 Dec 2010 at 04:11Nick

    Good article Nath, sending it to my friends

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Matthew Kelly. Matthew Kelly said: RT @NathanLee: Power balance admits misleading & deceptive conduct http://t.co/xepCah3 via @NathanLee #powerbalance #skeptic [...]

  5. on 23 Dec 2010 at 11:32Christopher Owen

    I guess you shouldn’t expect any previous commenters to apologise for their baseless vitriol. I expect the silence will be deafening.

  6. on 23 Dec 2010 at 22:54Nathan

    Naah, I don’t expect ‘em to apologise: that’d be showing too much integrity.. OR read before calling me all manner of things because I didn’t buy into their silly product.

    What would be nice is if the ACCC could confiscate all profits pending their proving their claims within a few months..

  7. on 27 Dec 2010 at 21:32GerHard

    Yep meanwhile in South Africa they are selling like hot cake

  8. on 03 Jan 2011 at 18:05a wise man

    Christopher Owen YOU ARE RIGHT THATS WHY THERE’S SO LITTLE Responses ON THIS ARTICLE

  9. on 06 Jan 2011 at 06:59damon

    Well, here is someone doing something about the scam:

    http://www.powerbalanceclassaction.com

    best!

  10. on 07 Jan 2011 at 09:19Power Bands Scam? | E POWER BANDS

    [...] Nathan Lee – Power balance admits misleading and deceptive conduct – Update: Oh, but if you want a hologram bracelet infused with truthishness rather than scamishness: try the placebo bands from the skeptic bros. Unlike all these other garbage products: this one is actually honest and goes to charity if … [...]

  11. on 09 Jan 2011 at 17:32Citizen

    I’ll also put up a wager of $5000, the same as Nathan’s (as long as I can keep my winnings though)!

    Snigger… won’t be any takers though.

    Then again… Power Balance wearers are rather stupid and gullible.

  12. on 10 Jan 2011 at 09:40Citizen

    A thought…
    If you see a mechanic taking dirty, used oil out of an old car, pouring it into a bottle, and reselling it as new, this is very obviously a scam.
    If you tell the hapless victim, you wouldn’t expect them to scream at you for telling them about it, would you? And you certainly wouldn’t expect them to do that if the oil was properly tested and proved to be used and dirty.
    The victim would surely go straight back to the mechanic and demand proper redress (and a bit of screaming there probably wouldn’t go amiss!).

    Why, then, do the victims of Power Balance scamming scream at the messenger?
    The people who are telling this message are not nasty, malicious people at all. They, we, I, are caring people. I hate to see people taken in by cleverly-worded scams. I tell you about the fraud because I care about people and humanity.
    I certainly laugh at the preposterous nature of Power Balance, but don’t take that personally. Obviously, there can be a few slanging matches here and there, as seen above. And I must admit it is a bit hard at times not to laugh at silly things and people!

    If you have been scammed by Power Balance (and no-one, not even I, ever wants to admit that we have been scammed), take your anger and direct it at those who started it all… at Power Balance. They are the entire source of the scam. They are the ones who bear the brunt of all our collective anger,.
    Don’t blame the messenger.

  13. on 04 Feb 2011 at 11:18Another concerned citizen
  14. [...] I suspect this was somehow related to the hoards of people who are clearly convinced the now broke in Australia/admitted scam/barred from using the term “technology” Power balance hologram bracelets. It’s always amusing when people swear I’m being crazy [...]

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