ASA Ruling, Be-Trim, again.

Posted 22 August 2011

This is a company that sells there scam products under a number of names. The owner, (Johan Brittz)   who we have previously written about, lives the high life in Lladudno, off the proceeds of products that have no proof of working. 

This is the result of a breach complaint made to the ASA.

Be-Trim / L De Weerdt / 8660
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Louise De Weerdt Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
 Boundlesstrade 149 (Pty) Ltd t/a Be-Trim Respondent

19 Aug 2011

In Be-trim / L De Weerdt / 8660 (20 May 2011) the Directorate ruled, inter alia, that the respondent was in breach of the ASA ruling of 24 May 2007, due to the fact that the respondent’s advertisement of Be-Trim product was still making use of unsubstantiated weight loss claims.

The complainant who brought the breach allegation to the attention of the Directorate, Dr Harris Steinman, and the respondent were afforded an opportunity to comment on whether or not sanctions in terms of Clause 14 of the Procedural Guide were appropriate.

In light previous ruling and the invitation for comments on sanctions, Clause 14 of the Procedural Guide (Sanctions) was taken into account.

The complainant submitted, inter alia, that it is clear that the respondent continued to flagrantly ignore the ASA Directorate’s rulings and continued to make claims for products that cannot be substantiated.

The complainant requested the ASA Directorate to impose the most stringent sanctions against the respondent.

The respondent, by means of an email from one “S Sackstein” submitted a response dealing with the merits of the complaint, which was dealt with in the previous rulings, rather than addressing the issue of sanctions.

It submitted, inter alia, that the ASA rules make it impossible to advertise a weight loss product and that the ASA expects the respondent to have done very expensive trials.

The respondent submitted, inter alia, that the product has been working for over 17 years and it has thousands of people who have used the product successfully.

The respondent attached photos of “Before and After” from Greg Stuart and Willem Greef as proof that the product works.

It submitted, inter alia, that it is at loss as to how to advertise its product in such a way that would meet the ASA’s approval and at the same time be able to get enough of a response from the advertisement to firstly cover cost of advertising as well as making a living. It would appreciate any suggestions, help, or guidance the ASA can give.

The Directorate considered the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.

Firstly, it must be noted that the breach allegation that gave rise to this consideration of sanctions was received within a day of the breach allegation that gave rise to a similar consideration and ultimately sanction under the reference Organo Slim / A Blom / 16330. In fact, the same person alleged the breach, namely Dr Harris Steinman, and the respondent submitted one response on both matters, raising the same arguments.

Secondly, it is should be noted that the respondent did not address the complainant’s comments on sanction particularly the request for stringent sanction to be imposed but argued the merits and efficacy of its product. This was already dealt with and the respondent’s claims were found to be unsubstantiated. In Organo Slim / A Blom / 16330 (4 August 2011), the Directorate noted its concern with the respondent’s apparent pattern of not arguing the dispute at hand, but rather commenting in general (See all rulings under reference Organo Slim / A Blom / 16330 as well as all rulings under reference Be-Trim / L de Weerdt / 8660).

As was pointed out in the Organo Slim ruling of 4 August 2011, the respondent has shown a deliberate disregard for the Code and has not shown any effort to comply with the ASA Directorate’s rulings regarding weight loss claims. It should also be noted that the website appears to have remained unchanged despite the previous rulings issued in relation to the respondent.

This clearly deserves a stricter approach, and warrants sanctions.

However, the Directorate has already imposed a sanction in terms of Clause 14.3 of the Procedural Guide in Organo Slim / A Blom / 16330 (4 August 2011). At its discretion, and given the respondent’s deliberate disregard for the Code, the Directorate extended the sanction period from six months to a year. The implication of this is that the respondent should have all its advertising for the next year pre-approve, at its cost, prior to publication.

As a result of the ruling issued on 4 August 2011, an Ad Alert was also issued to media members, advising them not to accept any advertising from Boundlesstrade 149 and/or Organoslim and/or BeTrim and/or MicroSlim and/or SlinkySlim and/or EasyThin (the names of the respondent’s other products) whatsoever unless it is accompanied by confirmation from the ACA Advisory Service that it may be published.

The Directorate is currently satisfied that this sanction is appropriate, and therefore does not impose an additional sanction on the respondent at this time.

7 comments to ASA Ruling, Be-Trim, again.

  • Kevin Charleston

    Great stuff – thanks for keeping up the pressure Harris.  
    Question: the sanction imposed and the Ad Alert – I doubt that gets communicated in any way to the in-store advertisement producers?  What solution is there, other than to wave the ASA ruling in the face of a pharmacist, to stop the big window and sidewalk ads at the pharmacies?  

  • Harris

    You are correct, it is not communicated to stores but only to those who "supports the South African system of self-regulation", mainly the media. You can see the list here: And one can wave it in the face of pharmacists, but they do not seem to care a jot. See my posting on Dischem which I hope to do soon, they sure were not interested and continue to sell the scam product, Hoodia Slender Gel.

  • Mrs Botha

    I am a normal south african citizen browsing sites and reviews on products another site i went into was My question is How sure are you that the products they sell do not work? Have you contacted more than 10 of their customers to find out? You have a lot of customers on your site “being stopped from ordering or complaining regarding orders” please can you supply complaints on the working of the products, complaints showing that the products do in actual fact not work? I think the public has the right to know if these products have worked and have you actually tested this product? Open minded Opinion

  • Mrs Botha

    Just another thought, many natural products are seen as threats to the medical industry as they have not been extensively tested but does seem to work, many doctors cant get kickbacks on natural products sold, is there any possible threat in this product to the medical community? If more than 10 customers can claim that these be-trim products work and the ingredients are present as advertised on the product upon testing, what exactly then seems to be the problem? The same HooHa was made by the medical community about Colloidal Silver in killing bacteria as a antibiotic substitute and as consumer I tested the Sil………lab range (name witheld) a very reputable brand,and it is 100% effective, from personal experience, with very little “medical testing”. So again I ask should we as consumers not be entitled to decide for ourselves? I believe that scamsters must be caught however a scam to me is if the product does not work, the ingredients are not present as stated or is unsafe, a claim of being a scamster can only be proven by testing products and gaining information from customers who have used it before otherwise a damage claim can be made against the accuser. An open-minded opinion about

  • Harris

    The problem is that there is no evidence this product works. Manufactured by someone with no medical or pharmaceutical knowledge, simply a mix of ingredients they believe will work but never tested.It is not for me to prove that the product does not work, it is for them to prove that it does! They want to sell the product, they need to prove that it does what they claim it does. I cannot mix something in my kitchen, claim that it cures AIDS, and expect users to prove that it does not?! I have to prove that it does!

  • Mrs Botha

    Have they been given this information? They are entitled to the opportunity to clear their name to the public. How long have they been going? 17 Years ? for a company to exist this long they must be doing something right, how many of their customers have returned for repeat orders? To merely look at the scientific testing of a product without looking at the package and the result is nothing short of unfair.

  • Harris

    The ASA asked for proof for their claims, they were unable to supply any.

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