Magnetic bands ads 'misleading'

By Heather McCracken, Patrice Dougan

Advertising watchdog orders company to remove unsubstantiated therapeutic claims from its website.

A magnetic wrist band.
A magnetic wrist band.

An advertiser has been forced to remove online claims that magnetic wrist and ankle bands have therapeutic benefits, including relieving tension and purifying blood.

A complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ads on the Magnetic Magnets' website made unsubstantiated therapeutic claims.

The website contained the statement that the product: "releases Far infrared wave, which can help relieve tension and improve the blood circulation. Releases negative ions to purify blood, activate cells and promotes the balance of the body's PH."

Complainant M Honeychurch said there was no evidence provided to back up the claims, and an online search "seems to suggest that no reliable link has ever been found between magnets and the kinds of health improvements that are claimed".

Magnetic Magnets responded that the claims referred to the properties of tourmaline, which produced the benefits, rather than magnets.

As a retailer, it had asked the supplier for evidence to back up the claims.

The supplier provided three test reports, however they were written in Chinese and a translation was not supplied.

Magnetic Magnets said the product worked by producing far infrared waves, which produced heat, and there were strong therapeutic benefits from heat treatment.

It also provided other information from websites, including Wikipedia, and an email from a customer backing up the product's effect.

The ASA complaints board said the evidence provided was insufficient to support the claims made.

It found the advertisement was likely to mislead consumers and did not present scientific information in an accurate manner.

The complaint was upheld and the advertisement was ordered to be removed.

The board noted at the time of the December 11 decision, the company's website was unchanged.

However, after being contacted by APNZ yesterday the claims were removed.

Magnetic Magnets said it had not received notification of the decision by the ASA board, and also had problems with notification of the original complaint.

It believed correspondence may have been sent to an incorrect address.

The website said the company was New Zealand-owned and operated and sold exclusively online.

It now says Far infrared waves "generate heat", and that "heat therapy can be beneficial to those with arthritis and stiff muscles and injuries to the deep tissue of the skin".

- APNZ

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