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.
RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light previous ruling and the invitation for comments on sanctions, Clause 14 of the Procedural Guide (Sanctions) was taken into account.
COMPLAINANT’S COMMENTS ON SANCTIONS
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.
RESPONDENT’S COMMENTS ON SANCTIONS
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.
ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
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 www.betrim.co.za 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.