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Misleading Claims: Coastal Wellbeing – Ear Candles

Date: 03/11/11
Code: 2011/07/027
Product: Coastal Wellbeing Ear Candles
Complainant: Anonymous
Respondent: Coastal Wellbeing
Finding: Justified
Sections Found Justified: Act section 22(5), 42DL(1)(g), 42DL(1)(a); Code sections 4(1)(a), 4(1)(b), 4(2)(c), 4(2)(d)
Sections Found Not Justified: None
Action: Withdraw advertisement; withdraw representations

Coastal Wellbeing's Advertisement

Findings of the Panel

12. The advertiser did not provide documentary evidence as to the regulatory status of the advertised ear candles. However, on the basis of the advertiser’s response the Panel was satisfied that the advertisement breached both of these sections of the Act – section 42DL(1)(g) because one of the advertised ear candle products was (according to the advertiser) not included in the Register.

15. Section 4(1)(b) of the Code requires that advertisements for therapeutic goods “contain correct and balanced statements only and claims which the sponsor has already verified.” Section 4(2)(c) of the Code prohibits representations that “mislead directly or by implication or through emphasis, comparisons, contrasts or omissions”. Section 4(2)(d) of the Code prohibits advertisements which “abuse the trust or exploit the lack of knowledge of consumers or contain language which could bring about fear or distress.”

16. In the absence of any evidence from the advertiser, the Panel was satisfied that all of the representations noted in paragraph 2 (above) had not been verified, were misleading, and abused the trust or exploited the lack of knowledge of consumers, in breach of sections 4(1)(b), 4(2)(c), and 4(2)(d) of the Code. These aspects of the complaint were therefore justified.

17. The Panel noted, without making any formal finding, that by arousing unwarranted expectations of the product’s effectiveness the advertisement was likely to breach section 4(2)(a) and the Code; and by reference to serious conditions, diseases and disorders (restricted representations) was likely to have breached section 5(2) of the Code.


About Bayani

Bayani is an advocate of rational thought and free-thinking; he dislikes ignorance and apathy, encourages others to thoroughly investigate the extraordinary claims they encounter, and to question underlying assumptions about their beliefs.


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