Glucoslim, Naturaslim, Thermoslim, Slimbetti

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Posted 04 November 2011

An ASA ruling:
A consumer lodged consumer complaints against internet advertising for Glucoslim, Naturaslim and Thermoslim complaining about the claims made on www.slendermax.co.za. The website explains that “Slender Max has three potent products …” and states, inter alia, as follows: “How does Thermoslim work? Thermoslim is a metabolic enhancer. With natural and clinically proven ingredients. Thermoslim is a proprietary blend of natural extracts, amino acids, vitamins and minerals designed to optimise the body’s metabolism and assist with the natural burning of fat. How does Naturaslim work? Naturaslim is a capsule based blend of Green Tea Extract and Hoodia that is designed to reduce appetite and cravings, optimise the metabolism, increase fat burning and raise the level of antioxidant Polyphenols in the body to assist in overall wellness. How does Glucoslim work? Glucoslim is a capsule based blend of Glucomannan powder derived from the Konjak root and Hoodia, that is designed to reduce appetite and cravings, increase feelings of fullness quicker at meal times, reduce cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestive function”. The complainant submitted that the claims made in respect of the products advertised were false or unproven.

(Note: The Grindlays keep on changing the name of the products: Hoodia Slender Gel, Slender Max gel, Slimbetti, etc. Same people, different scams)

Planet Hoodia / HA Steinman / 18017 /18018 / 18019 (ASC)
Ruling of the : Advertising Standards Committee
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Planet Hoodia cc Respondent

01 Nov 2011

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=5821

BACKGROUND
Dr Steinman lodged consumer complaints against internet advertising for Glucoslim, Naturaslim and Thermoslim complaining about the claims made on www.slendermax.co.za.

The website explains that “Slender Max has three potent products …” and states, inter alia, as follows:

“How does Thermoslim work?
Thermoslim is a metabolic enhancer. With natural and clinically proven ingredients. Thermoslim is a proprietary blend of natural extracts, amino acids, vitamins and minerals designed to optimise the body’s metabolism and assist with the natural burning of fat.

How does Naturaslim work?
Naturaslim is a capsule based blend of Green Tea Extract and Hoodia that is designed to reduce appetite and cravings, optimise the metabolism, increase fat burning and raise the level of antioxidant Polyphenols in the body to assist in overall wellness.

How does Glucoslim work?
Glucoslim is a capsule based blend of Glucomannan powder derived from the Konjak root and Hoodia, that is designed to reduce appetite and cravings, increase feelings of fullness quicker at meal times, reduce cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestive function”.

COMPLAINTS
The complainant submitted that the claims made in respect of the products advertised were false or unproven.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
When referring the matter to the Advertising Standards Committee, the Directorate advised that the following clauses of the Code were relevant:

• Clause 4.1 of Section II (Substantiation)

• Clause 4.2.1 of Section II (Misleading Claims)

At the time of sending the complaint for a response, the Directorate also identified Appendix E (Advertising for slimming) as applicable.

RESPONSE
Mr Chris Grindlay on behalf of the Respondent, responded in respect of complaints 18017 (Glucoslim) and 18018 (Naturaslim) on 29 June 2011 and subsequently on 4 July 2011, and in respect of 18019 (Thermoslim) on 30 June 2011 advising that the offending claims would be removed from his website.

ASA DIRECTORATE REFERRAL
The Directorate referred the undertakings to the Committee as it was not convinced that the undertakings would deal with the concerns raised in light of a number of previous rulings against products advertised at the behest of the current Respondent.

COMMITTEES DELIBERATIONS AND RULING
The Committee considered the referral on 30 August 2011. On 26 August the Respondent, through its representative Stefan Vos Marketing Regulation Advisors applied for a postponement of the hearing on the grounds that;

“As advised, Planet Hoodia is currently busy with a major regulatory overhaul, and as a result we are consulting with counsel dung the course of next week.

We reiterate Planet Hoodias undertakings in respect of the three matters as to withdraw the claims at issue, and submit that in light of these undertakings, there is no prejudice suffered in respect of the merits of the matters for any parties other than Planet Hoodia.

We accordingly request that, as the only real issue on the table at the ASC hearings is really the impositioning of further sanctions, we request that the hearings be postponed to enable Planet Hoodia to implement its regulatory overhaul.

We await your urgent confirmation as to whether the above is acceptable to the ASA.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Regards,

Stefan”

The request for a postponement was refused. Given the history of the Respondents involvement with the ASA the “undertaking “ that a new regulatory regime would resolve its issues was not accepted without a personal appearance in order to allow the Committee an opportunity to interrogate the undertaking. There was no suggestion that the Respondent was personally unavailable to attend the hearing. Not unsurprisingly there was no appearance at the hearing by the Respondent and no explanation for the non appearance has been forthcoming.

The Committee was of the view that given the history of the Respondents breaches as set out in the Directorates ruling in Hoodia Slender Gel / HA Steinman 12857/13994 all of which involved the present Respondent that the most severe sanction available be imposed. In addition it came to light that the Directorate’s ruling in the above mentioned matters had not been implemented.

In the circumstances a sanction in terms of Clause 14.4 of the procedural guide is imposed on the Respondent to comply with the Directorates above mentioned Ruling after amending it to include Glocoslim, Nutraslim and Thermoslim and to publish the advertisement: in the magazines mentioned as well as on the website slendermax.co.za for a period of 3 months

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