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False advertising (Kevin Trudeau)

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« on: February 14, 2007, 10:23:44 AM »

I was lying in bed last night watching television, and being too idle to get up and change channels when the infomercials came on, I found myself watching 30 minutes of absolute nonsense paid for by Glomail,being foisted onto a gullible South African public. Yes, 30 minutes of garbage spouted by Kevin Trudeau, American huckster of note, selling claptrap called Mega Memory, ripping off desparate parents, students and children. I was dumbfounded that this rubbish was still on air in South Africa, as I was convinced that it had been pulled off the airwaves, after the FDA in the US had banned him there. I quote from the FDA website, dated september 7, 2004:

A Federal Trade Commission settlement with Kevin Trudeau – a prolific marketer who has either appeared in or produced hundreds of infomercials – broadly bans him from appearing in, producing, or disseminating future infomercials that advertise any type of product, service, or program to the public

I am curious as to who would one complain to that Glomail has the audacity to charge hundreds of rands for a product touted by a convicted felon? Does the SABC not vet the products advertised?
« Last Edit: May 31, 2007, 15:01:04 PM by bluegray V » Logged
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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2007, 10:52:30 AM »

Complaining to Glomail will fall on deaf ears.  They will most probably reply with some claptrap about how many customers are happy with the product, and their only priority is to satisfy said clients, yadda-yadda-yadda...

Get a remote for that TV  Wink
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2007, 10:12:06 AM »

Complaining to Glomail will fall on deaf ears.

Indeed, it has apparently done just that, despite repeated requests for information.  Glomail's silence is deafening.  Worse yet, of the several different SA agencies we approached that profess to have consumer interests at heart, only one has even bothered to acknowledge our enquiries, never mind address them in any meaningful way.  It seems that they are far more concerned about appearing concerned than in doing anything actually useful by way of consumer protection.  It's just too much trouble.

Glomail also sells Trudeau's big book of nasty lies, Natural Cures.  The US's FTC ruling includes an injunction that prohibits Trudeau from making "disease or health benefits claims for any type of product, service, or program in any advertising, including print, radio, Internet, television, and direct mail solicitations, regardless of the format and duration."  How does his book not constitute "disease or health benefits claims" when he repeatedly, and without any evidence, writes about off-the-shelf foods and medicines that they are making people sick?

But it's okay for Glomail to continue milking the malinformed.

At the same time, Verimark is selling a slimming gadget called AB Energizer.  Again, the FTC ruled that marketers of this item are to make restitution to buyers because it was sold on false adverising promises.  And again, this product is sold with impunity to SAns.

Caveat emptor is fine for a free market principle as far as it goes.  Sadly, it opens the door widely for unscrupulous grubbies like Kevin Trudeau.

Glomail and Verimark may find themselves in deep waters for not researching their goods properly when the Consumer Protection Bill finally comes into force (expected to occur during 2007) and is tested in the courts.  No doubt, they will scream blue murder if ordered to pay full refunds to all purchasers of these discredited products, which may well happen.

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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2007, 14:42:38 PM »

Well, well, lookee here!

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« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2007, 12:27:23 PM »

Incredible!  The ASA ruling was actually reported nationally, but there must have been considerably more to the case than merely the claim that "the product does not work" because it is hard to see how Glomail would voluntarily pull the infomercial for this reason alone.

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« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2007, 14:59:28 PM »

Quote
It said the complainant, a Patrick Linzer, had submitted that the infomercial was misleading "as the product does not work" and had been discredited by the FTC.

In response, the ASA said, Glomail had addressed the merits of the matter but also undertaken that the infomercial would not be used again in its current format.

The ASA said this undertaking appeared to address Linzer's concerns, and there was therefore no need for it to consider the merits of the matter.

It said it accepted the undertaking "on condition that the claim in question is withdrawn with immediate effect [and] not used again in future".

What does that mean? Note, that they still don't admit that the product is complete junk.
It's good to know that complaining to ASA actually works to get the ad off the air though. Complain here:  http://www.asasa.org.za/Complaint.aspx
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« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2007, 15:50:27 PM »

Quote


It said it accepted the undertaking "on condition that the claim in question is withdrawn with immediate effect [and] not used again in future".
What does that mean?
I think it's probably a misprint: "the claim in question" should read "the infomercial in question" – at least that would make sense and accords with the ASA's ruling (linked to in an earlier post) where it intimates that Glomail provided "an unequivocal undertaking to withdraw or amend its advertising."



Note, that they still don't admit that the product is complete junk.
Yes, that struck me too.  But perhaps the complaint submitted to the ASA was too devastating to stand any chance of being effectively challenged by Glomail, and they chose the easy (and cheaper) way out by admitting nothing, only promising to mend a minimum of their ways.

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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2007, 11:43:54 AM »

Glomail remains silent for now on whether it will readvertise Kevin Trudeau's Mega Memory.  I suppose this means that they will continue selling it, and start a new advertising campaign once they have concocted a lesser suitable pack of lies about the product.  But beware!  The Consumer Protection Bill is coming to a court near you soon…

And here's a blog entry about the ASA case.

'Luthon64
« Last Edit: June 05, 2007, 11:45:31 AM by Anacoluthon64 » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2007, 12:51:11 PM »

Here is a related opinion-piece concerning a more pronounced role that the Advertising Standards Authority could play in cases where the advertiser effectively pleads "no contest" by withdrawing the offending advertisement.

My own view is that the ASA should insist on evidence of efficacy in such cases before allowing the product to be advertised again.  This, I think, will ultimately shorten the time potentially wasted in repeated attempts by the advertiser to tell lies because the ASA could then delineate some specifics about the kinds of claim about efficacy that can be allowed.

Either that, or the ASA should insist on reviewing any proposed new advertising material for the product in question before such material can be publicly aired.

'Luthon64
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