SlimBetti – same Slender Max scam artists: Discussion

Readers may find this discussion between Stephanie (a CamCheck reader) and me illuminating.

It revolves around the posting titled “SlimBetti – same Slender Max scam artists” (http://www.camcheck.co.za/slimbetti-same-scam-artists/)

To summarise:

This posting relates to Chris and Jasmine Grindlay who are the people behind Hoodia Slender Gel, changed to Slender Max Slender Gel, changed to Slimbetti Slender Gel, among their other products. The reason for the name changes is the barrage of rulings against the claims for their products. I have argued that these products are a scam and nothing else, and that they are now flagrantly avoiding complying with ASA rulings. They are blatantly lying to the media claiming that the ASA have accepted their claims when they know full well that this is a complete fabrication, similar to the claims for their products. A charge of fraud has been laid with the police against this couple.

The discussion between Stephanie and me is very interesting and relevant for it shows how two diametrically opposite points of view can exist around the same topic. (I have fixed a few typos, otherwise the discussion is un-edited)

Stephanie’s comments are in red

 


 

From: Stephanie
To: Harris
Sent: 10 May 2012 11:11 AM

Dr Steinman I saw their advertisement in the “Fair Lady magazine” last year.
The tone of your blog insinuates that these people are doing something illegal! After checking through the details they are certainly not! You say these people should be identified held responsible and shamed… Well from my point of view, I’m extremely happy that they place such advertising to catch my eye in the media. Their advertising, their online support, their tremendous telephonic support, has helped me to lose more than 22 kg, I’m eternally grateful to them. They also seem to be offering the same support too many other very satisfied customers on their Facebook page, I invite you to check it out. For your information, they strongly encourage, a calorie controlled diet, and exercise regime in conjunction with their slimming products to get the best results.

You say their products are not clinically proven, and the products don’t work and it’s a scam, well something must be working! If it’s a placebo, then it’s a very good one, and it works very well, as many placebos do. If you had your way this company wouldn’t exist, and I probably would still weigh 22 kg more, I rest my case.

 


 

From: Harris
To: Stephanie
Sent: 10 May 2012 12:14 PM

Hi Stephanie,

And you are right, if I had my way, this company would not exist. You are the first comment I have received from a consumer claiming that the product works, all the others have been negative (but not posted by request).

Did you know that hoodia has been shown in a massive study, using high doses, to not be effective in weight loss, and 2., that hoodia is not absorbed through the skin as they claim?

Before posting your comment I would like to:

1. Check that this email is valid – many scam products employees post positive comments from an invalid email address.

2. Your comment on this:

if a product works for 1% of people, (whether because it is a placebo response or because it really has worked for that person), is it not misleading to claim that the product works? By way of another example: there are individuals who claim that washing with a particular brand of pink soap has cured them of AIDS (really!) – is it then fair to say that it does work based on a few consumers who really believe this?

3. I have a masters student at Stellenbosch who has just completed her study on a weight-loss product. Individuals in the study (85 individuals) were given the real product in the original packaging, or a placebo product in the real packaging, or the real product in a similar but plain package, or the placebo in the similar but brown bag. What the study showed was that a few individuals in ALL groups lost weight – whether a placebo was taken or not. Those who lost weight were an insignificant number of the 85. Whether they used the active or placebo, some lost weight because of the fact that they were now aware of being reminded that they should be dieting. Is it therefore acceptable to claim in advertising that the product is effective in weight-loss? Of course, to that individual who did lose weight, they will insist that the product worked – even if we know we gave them a pill that contains no active ingredients?

Your comments will be appreciated.

Sincerely,

Harris

 


 

From: Stephanie
To: Harris
10 May 2012 12:27 PM

Stephanie responds by interspersing her comments, in red, between my comments

Hi Stephanie,

And you are right, if I had my way, this company would not exist. You are the first comment I have received from a consumer claiming that the product works, all the others have been negative (but not posted by request).

Did you know that hoodia has been shown in a massive study, using high doses, to not be effective in weight loss, and 2., that hoodia is not absorbed through the skin as they claim?

Stephanie: No I did not.

Before posting your comment I would like to:

1. Check that this email is valid – many scam products employees post positive comments from an invalid email address.

Stephanie: Yes I am here.

2. Your comment on this:
if a product works for 1% of people, (whether because it is a placebo response or because it really has worked for that person), is it not misleading to claim that the product works? By way of another example: there are individuals who claim that washing with a particular brand of pink soap has cured them of AIDS (really!) – is it then fair to say that it does work based on a few consumers who really believe this?

Stephanie: Your question is leading… we are not talking life-and-death, we’re not talking about pink soap, we’re talking about a lifestyle change, with eating plans, with lots of encouragement via e-mail, Facebook, and telephonically. Which can only help people lose weight. By what I’ve seen on this company’s Facebook page (more than 3000 people liking the product) there is a lot of people that  Have lost a lot of weight from being involved in this company (placebo or not).

3. I have a masters student at Stellenbosch who has just completed her study on a weight-loss product. Individuals in the study (85 individuals) were given the real product in the original packaging, or a placebo product in the real packaging, or the real product in a similar but plain package, or the placebo in the similar but brown bag. What the study showed was that a few individuals in ALL groups lost weight – whether a placebo was taken or not. Those who lost weight were an insignificant number of the 85. Whether they used the active or placebo, some lost weight because of the fact that they were now aware of being reminded that they should be dieting. Is it therefore acceptable to claim in advertising that the product is effective in weight-loss? Of course, to that individual who did lose weight, they will insist that the product worked – even if we know we gave them a pill that contains no active ingredients?

Stephanie: Well I’m going to say it’s acceptable, because the whole marketing strategy worked for me, and for other people that I’ve seen. (Maybe the company should be in courage to give even more focus in their advertising to lifestyle change?)

 


 

From: Harris
To: Stephanie
Sent: 10 May 2012 12:38 PM

You wrote” “more than 3000 people liking the product) there is a lot of people that  Have lost a lot of weight from being involved in this company (placebo or not).”

Liking a page is not the same as accepting that the product works!

Also, considering that this product has been advertised for over a year, was given prominent advertising in many magazines (double-page spread in Vrouekeur, in Rooi Rose, People magazine, Joy, Rapport, etc., with a probable total readership of over 500,000, it would seem that 3,000 people liking the product is not a great deal of people!

But this is not here nor there: the simple point I was making was that because 1, or 5, or 100 people believe that a product has helped them, does not constitute proof that it helps everyone nor the majority of users. Before claims of being effective is made, one has to confirm that the majority of users will benefit, for else, by all standards, it is then a scam.

Regards,

Harris

 

CAMCheck posts related to Slimbetti / Chris & Jasmine Grindlay

6 Responses to SlimBetti – same Slender Max scam artists: Discussion

  1. Nealia Knoetze 17 May, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Ek Woensdag van die produkte gekoop nadat ek ‘n advertensie daarvan gesien het en nou eers navorsing daaroor gedoen… Groot was my ontnugtering om hierdie terugvoer te sien …. as ek bewus was hiervan het ek nie die produkte gekoop nie.

  2. Mrs Botha 1 August, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Harris I think calling products scams come too easily to this site, I would certainly suggest claims of scams to be thoroughly investigated and products tested prior to allegations being made, all the camcheck articles I have read seems to point to one thing – chemical (medical) versus natural (homeopathic/naturopathic) this seems really odd, is every natural product going to be labeled as a scam?

  3. Harris 1 August, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    No, I expect proof from both chemical (medical) and natural (homeopathic/naturopathic) meds. Without proof, how do we know that any concoction works? Many are mixed together in a bathroom and sold so that someone can make money. Surely you would like proof before you give your child a product that claims to heal or help them, or are you prepared to accept the word of the manufacturer.

  4. Mrs Botha 1 August, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    We are expected to accept the word of medical doctors when they tell you that chemicals in medicines like antibiotics is unlikely to cause side effects, yet time and time again people suffer with side effects sometime severe, and when you read the package insert, you will find the side effect there. To claim that huge companies market scam natural products is going a little far. Yes sure you get the scamsters but I think not as many as this site makes it out to be.

  5. Melisa 18 July, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Product dont work, i felt like i gained weight . they say you dont have to go on a diet and can eat as you normally would. According to them just by using their product you can loose weight withou changing your eating habit. I am about 10kg over weight and thought this would be a quick fix but i soon learned it all sound to good to be true.

  6. Jakkie 7 July, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    Hi There is no such thing as quick fix, you obviously need to take the low cal diet that comes in the lifestyle booklet. if a pill could exist that works without changing youre diet, it will be the most famous, favourite product.

    I just started on Slimbetti and my expectations is high.

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