Doctor Tunde: No laughing matter

Posted 17 October 2011

Mr Ganesan lodged a consumer complaint against a pamphlet distributed by “Doctor Tunde” promoting his traditional healing business. The pamphlet contains, inter alia, the wording: • “PENIS PRO ENLARGER” • “Remove bad luck, witchcraft, tokoloshe & demons from homes.” • “Find out why you are not progressing in life and the solution” • “Guarantee you to win that troubling court case No matter what stage” The complainant submitted, in essence, that the claims made in the advertisement are not possible to achieve.

Dr Tunde / P Ganesan / 17662
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Patrick Ganesan Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Dr Tunde Respondent

14 Oct 2011

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5785

Mr Ganesan lodged a consumer complaint against a pamphlet distributed by “Doctor Tunde” promoting his traditional healing business.

The pamphlet contains, inter alia, the wording:

• “PENIS PRO ENLARGER”
• “Remove bad luck, witchcraft, tokoloshe & demons from homes.”
• “Find out why you are not progressing in life and the solution”
• “Guarantee you to win that troubling court case No matter what stage”

COMPLAINT
The complainant submitted, in essence, that the claims made in the advertisement are not possible to achieve.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were considered relevant:

• Clause 4.1 Section I – Substantiation

• Clause 1 of Section II – Misleading

RESPONSE
Despite all reasonable efforts made to elicit a response from the advertiser, no response was received. The respondent was telephonically advised about the complaint but refused to divulge his contact details where the correspondence from the Directorate could be sent to. The Directorate therefore had no alternative but to rule on the matter based on the information available.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the complainant.

The proliferation of charlatan healers in recent years is concerning, especially as they tend to use unregulated forms of media, such as flyers distributed by hand, to promote their businesses based on unsubstantiated claims. The ASA has ruled against such advertisements on numerous occasions in recent years, and it is hoped that the appropriate authorities will address this issue, as it is no doubt causing harm to the credibility of legitimate healers and practitioners and this industry at large.

Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code requires that advertisers hold substantiation for any direct or implied claims made in their advertisements.

The Directorate is of the opinion that the claims made, offering to resolve certain problems, treatment of various diseases, bodily functions as well as permanent extension of male sexual organs are clearly capable of objective substantiation as envisaged by the Code. However, despite being afforded an opportunity to engage the ASA and ultimately supply such substantiation, none was received from the respondent.

The advertising is therefore promoting the respondent’s services on the basis of unsubstantiated claims and abilities, which is in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

Given this, the advertisement is likely to mislead people in a manner that is in contravention of Clause 4.2.1 of Section II of the Code.

In light of the above, the respondent is required to:

withdraw the advertisement in its current format;

the process to withdraw the advertisement must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of the ruling;

the withdrawal of the advertisement must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and

the advertisement may not be used again in its current format.

In view of the fact that the respondent has failed to respond and an adverse ruling has been made, the ASA will issue an Ad Alert to its members with reference to the advertisement in question.

The complaint is upheld.

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