Rubedo: ASA Breach ruling

Posted 16 August 2012

A consumer laid a complaint with the ASA arguing that Rubedo was still making claims that their product can result in weight loss, when their is no evidence that it does, and contrary to the previous ASA ruling which found that there was no evidence that the product has any efficacy.

Rubedo Weight Loss System / HA Steinman / 20067
Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Dr Harris Steinman Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Ruslana Retail cc t/a Rubedo Respondent

 
07 Aug 2012

http://www.asasa.org.za/ResultDetail.aspx?Ruling=6200

In Rubedo Weight Loss System / H Steinman / 20067(18 May 2012) the Directorate accepted the respondent’s voluntary undertaking to remove the claims referred to by the complainant from its advertising and on condition that this was done within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide.

The advertising contained a host of claims that communicated how this product, inter alia, “Assists rapid weight loss, Reduces your appetite, Increase your fat burning”. It also claimed that the product was approved by the MCC (Medicines Control Council).

SUBSEQUENT TO THE RULING
On 26 July 2012 the complainant lodged a breach complaint against the respondent’s website, www.rubedo.co.za, stating as follows:

“A consumer has brought to my attention that as of today, 26 July 2012, these claims (unsubstantiated weight-loss) are still being made on the website in question. This is clearly a flagrant abuse of the ASA ruling”.

RELEVANT CLAUSE OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the breach allegation the Directorate considered Clause 15 of the Procedural Guide (Enforcement of rulings) as relevant.

RESPONSE
The respondent submitted that it initially agreed to remove all unsubstantiated weight loss claims regarding Rubedo from all websites under its direct control which includes the website www.rubedo.co.za.

However, the complainant is unclear as to what actually breached the initial ruling on the website. The respondent pointed out that its website specifically states that the following is needed for effective weight loss:

Healthy eating
Healthy drinking
Increased exercise
Other lifestyle changes.

If the complainant were to elaborate on what he regards as problematic, the respondent would gladly rectify the situation to ensure compliance.

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

The essential question before the Directorate is whether or not the respondent’s advertisement is in breach of the original ruling. For this to be the case, the respondent would have to be making the same, or materially similar claims to those originally complained of.

The complainant has not made out any case for why he believes the respondent has breach the initial Directorate ruling. He merely submitted that a consumer has brought to his attention that the claims are still being made on the website. No explanation is given as to why he believes this to be the case, which claims he believes to be similar to the ones original considered by the Directorate, or possibly which amended claims are still communicating a problematic message.

The Directorate also notes that the current website appears to differ materially from the one previously complained of, and does not appear ex facie to contain any of the claims previously disputed.

As such, in the absence of clarity and proper grounds from the complainant, the respondent cannot be said to be in breach of the previous ruling without reasons supporting that contention.

Breach allegation is, therefore, dismissed.

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