GarciniaSlim – another scam

Posted 04 March 2014

Dr de Lange lodged a consumer complaint against an Internet and print advertisement (Sunday Times) for GarciniaSlim. The advertisements claim” “The Newest fastest Fat Buster is Garcinia Cambogia Extract…” “No diet”, “No excercise” etc. Repeated reference is also made to the fact that this product is “Recommended By Doctors”. Images of televisions “Dr Oz” and white-coat wearing models also feature prominently. The complainant submitted that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the advertised product is effective in causing permanent weight loss over a long period as is claimed. 

All reasonable steps were taken by the ASA Directorate to elicit a response from the advertiser, but none was received, and the ASA ruled against the claims.

[note note_color=”#effcb5″]GarciniaSlim / R de Lange / 22746
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
De Rudi de Lange Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Rapid Diet Solutions CC Respondent[/note]

21 Feb 2014

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6792

Dr de Lange lodged a consumer complaint against an Internet and print advertisement for Garciniaslim. The advertisements were published at www.garciniaslim.co.za and in the Sunday Times respectively.

The advertisements contain a middle torso of a slim woman and, inter alia, the wording:

“The Newest fastest Fat Buster is Garcinia Cambogia Extract…”
NO DIET”

NO EXERCISE”

FAT BUSTER”

BLOCKS FAT FORMATION”

ELIMINATES BELLY FAT”.
Repeated reference is also made to the fact that this product is “Recommended By Doctors”. Images of televisions “Dr Oz” and white-coat wearing models also feature prominently.

COMPLAINT

In essence, the complainant submitted that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the advertised product is effective in causing permanent weight loss over a long period as is claimed. He explained that a fair amount of research has been done on the ingredient Garcinia Cambogia, with the latest results indicating that “… there is still little evidence to support the potential effectiveness … Future trials should be more rigorous and better reported”.

The complainant also submitted that the use of a slim model that act as a testimonial to the efficacy of the product is also in contravention of the Code.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE

The complainant identified the following clauses of the Code as relevant to his complaint:

• Clause 4.1 of Section II – Substantiation

• Clause 4.2.1 of Section II – Misleading claims

• Clause 10 of Section II – Testimonials

• Clauses 1.4 and 2 of Appendix D – Advertising for slimming

RESPONSE

All reasonable steps were taken by the ASA Directorate to elicit a response from the advertiser, but none was received. A representative of the respondent, Mr Nick Bowman, confirmed receipt via email, and requested additional time to reply, which was granted. No reply was received, however.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING

The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the complainant. In the absence of a response from the advertiser, the Directorate had no alternative but to rule, based on the information before it.

Substantiation

Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code requires that advertisers hold substantiation for any direct or implied claims made in their advertisements. It clarifies that such substantiation should emanate from, or at least be evaluated by an independent and credible expert in the field to which the claims relate.

The Directorate is of the opinion that the claims regarding the advertised product’s efficacy with regard to weight loss, fat loss and appetite suppression 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.

Based on the above, the advertising and relevant claims relating to efficacy in terms of weight loss, fat loss, and appetite suppression are unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

In addition, the complainant correctly pointed out that the Code expressly requires advertisers to give due prominence to the role of diet and exercise in weight loss. This advertisement expressly discourages dieting and exercise in apparent contravention of the Code. This is evident from claims such as “NO DIET” and “NO EXERCISE”.

As such, the advertising is also in contravention of Appendix D of the Code.

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

withdraw these claims and the relevant advertisements in their current format;

the process to withdraw these claims and the advertisements must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of the ruling;

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

these claims as well as the relevant advertisements may not be used again in their current format unless adequate substantiation has been submitted and accepted by means of a new Directorate ruling.
This portion of the complaint is upheld.

In addition to this, the complainant took issue with the fact that there is no evidence to support the notion that this product is “Recommended By Doctors” in South Africa as suggested in the advertising. He added that the image and video clips from Dr Mehmet Oz, relate to “Dr Oz”, an American cardiothoracic surgeon renowned for endorsing products for which there is insufficient scientific evidence. The other doctors shown in the advertising are actually mere models taken from a gallery and used by various entities.

Here too, the respondent had an onus to provide evidence that its product is “Recommended By Doctors” as claimed. No such evidence was submitted, rendering this claim unsubstantiated.

Accordingly, the claim “Recommended By Doctors” is currently unsubstantiated and in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II of the Code.

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

withdraw the “Recommended By Doctors” claim in its current format;

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

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

this claim may not be used again in its current format unless adequate substantiation has been submitted and accepted by means of a new Directorate ruling.
This portion of the complaint is upheld.

Testimonials

Clause 10 of Section II deals with testimonials used in advertising, predominantly calling on them to be genuine, to conform to the Code, and to only make efficacy claims that can be properly substantiated.

The complainant argued that the model shown in the advertising effectively serves as a testimonial, creating an impression that using this product will deliver similar results. In reality, such image-library models have nothing to do with the product, and the weight loss implied cannot be attributed to the respondent’s product.

The Directorate does not share this view. By its nature, a testimonial is generally regarded as a formal statement by an individual to testify about the efficacy of something, or the perception of something. The model used in the advertising is merely an attractive model. No mention is made of her having used the product, or her perceptions of its efficacy.

While the Directorate accepts that the model reinforces the weight loss message (which has been found to be unsubstantiated), it does not believe it goes further than this.

The Directorate therefore does not believe that the provisions of Clause 10 of Section II are applicable in this instance.

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 and claims in question.

The complaint is partially upheld.

2 Responses to GarciniaSlim – another scam

  1. Lizelle Dashwood 10 February, 2015 at 12:33 pm #

    Definitely a scam. Although you can contact them, they can’t give you a Tracking number for your parcel in South Africa. I have waited 3 weeks, then phoned after the money was deducted from my bank account. Then had to wait 7 days for delivery. Then phoned today again, just to find out another few days. No tracking number.

    This is definitely a scam. Be carefull!

  2. Joanne 22 September, 2015 at 12:08 am #

    I have ordered the product 3 times 5 bottles garcinia and 5 bottles colon cleanse the package was delivered within 2 days and all was very user friendly on the website consultants are friendly Claudine is her name I order do EFT payment get waybill number and parcel arrives… guess what me and friends are all losing weight…… a lot…. thanks to rapid diet solutions…… garcina works…… very very over happy
    This was my 3rd order in 2 months…. very successful… please try the product and website before you assume the worst….. there are scams but this is for real…..

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