Power band? Try a rubber band
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel ridicules claims made for the Power Balance bracelet and warns retailers they could be breaking the law.
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.
The wristbands were touted as providing better balance, strength and flexibility by working with the wearer's "natural energy field".
English cricketers Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss, AFL bad boy Brendan Fevola, St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt and NRL star Benji Marshall have all been known to wear the bracelets.
But ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said in a statement: “Power Balance has 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.
“Its conduct may have contravened the misleading and deceptive conduction section of the Trade Practices Act 1974," Mr Samuel said.
"When a product is heavily promoted, sold at major sporting stores and worn by celebrities, consumers tend to give a certain legitimacy to the product and the representations being made."
The bracelets sell for $60 on the company's website.
Mr Samuel also warned that retailers that continue to sell the products with misleading advertising or packaging would be open to action from the ACCC.
Last month an independent review panel that deals with complaints about breaches of the therapeutic goods advertising code found that powerbalance.com.au violated the code.
Power Balance acknowledged it had breached the code and said the relevant claims had been removed from its website.
The company was also named in this year's Shonky awards.
Consumer advocate group Choice found the bracelets were just rubber bands with plastic holograms.
"The band was tested at CHOICE under controlled lab conditions which showed it did little else than empty purchasers' wallets," Choice said in October.
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