Unfortunately, Louise Mclean did not reply to my offer of a £5000 bet to test her claims for the efficacy of homeopathy. She was most insistent, though, that I remove her copyrighted picture from the blog. I was happy to comply, and I hope that the 10:23 campaign won't mind me using one of theirs.
Louise, if by any chance you're reading, next time the bet will be £10,000.
The ASA passed four of my complaints, in whole or in part, to their compliance team. The complaints concerned Veja Gorania, Andrew Ward, Vitalzym and Sylvie Hamilton.
Veja Gorania's business partners have, apparently, made similar unfounded claims before, and on national TV. Perhaps they thought that confining their adverts to local newspapers would keep them beneath the radar. They were wrong.
Some of my complaints against Andrew Ward failed on technicalities, but the key complaint (that he had breached the CAP code in claiming to treat "all acute and chronic illnesses") was accepted by both the ASA and the Society of Homeopaths.
During the complaints process, Andrew suggested that I had libelled him. I am not impressed by empty threats, but in case Andrew has recently grown some cajones, I've always wanted to be in a real-life production of Trial By Jury.
One of my ASA complaints, concerning Henry T. Laurency, was rejected. The ASA believed that the advert contained philosophical beliefs that couldn't, by definition, be substantiated. I agree with their conclusion, and it's clear in my mind now that adverts can (in general) discuss the contents of books they promote.
Several of my ASA complaints are on-going. I submitted ten complaints in just seven hours today; I hope that the ASA aren't sick of me yet. Compared to certain other regulatory authorities, they are a shining example of efficiency and professionalism.
Over the coming month, I hope to clarify to what extent psychics, mediums and clairvoyants are able to make claims in their adverts. I will also be testing the response of Trading Standards to new European regulations. Watch this space...
Cassus have some overdue karma Although some may see sending off complaints as "a drop in the ocean" I tend to feel that anything that makes it more difficult or even stops these kinds of claims being used as worthwhile and it encourages others to perhaps make that complaint they otherwise wouldnt have known how to word or even where to send when they see examples like yours and positive results coming from them.
I think as a nation we are rubbish at productive complaints or rather the wording of them and how to get the main point across without resorting to rambling rants or simply just not bothering writing but endlessly moaning about the service or lack of we get.(I see hundreds of these very pieces of correspondence every month and often it takes hours to fathom out what exactly it is they are trying to get at).
Your letters are a perfect example of how to word a complaint and how to get the most from the time and effort expended in doing so .
Kindred Spirit's mail order service (9 complaints): how do any of these people sleep at night?
I write to complain about an eight-page advertising feature in “Kindred Spirit” magazine (March/April 2010, pages 50-57), which promotes the magazine's online mail-order service, www.kindredspirit.co.uk
I refer here only to the contents of the advert, not to the website. I suspect that the advert makes multiple breaches of the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP) code.
I confirm that I have no connections to the advertiser or the magazine, and am not involved in legal proceedings with either of them. I confirm that I am happy to be identified as the complainant.
I enclose scans of the relevant pages.
Under sections 3.1 and 50.1 of the code, I challenge whether www.kindredspirit.co.uk hold documentary evidence to prove any of the following claims, and I challenge whether the claims are backed by evidence, where appropriate consisting of trials conducted on people:
Item 1: Electromagnetic Harmonisers for computer or mobile phone
(1) The direct claim that the disc “naturally harmonises emissions from electronics [devices]"
(2) The implied claim that the disc has health benefits for users of electronic devices
Item 15: “Pyramid de Vie”
(4) The claim that the pendant “releases [i.e. reduces] pain, enhances body bio fields [sic]” and “keeps you rejuvenated”
(5) The claim that the pendant contains minerals which are “energy-giving”
Item 16: "Detox Foot Patches"
(6) The claim that by using the patches, "overnight toxins are expelled"
Item 17: "Warm Detox Foot Patches"
(7) The implied claim that the patches are beneficial for people with poor circulation
(8) The direct claim the patches "help soothe aches and pains"
Item 18: "Aqua-Vortex"
(9) The claim that the device can "re-energise water and drinks...by replicating effects found in nature"
Item 19: "Hopi Ear Candles"
(10) The direct claim that Hopi Ear Candles are in any way related to the Hopi (Navajo) tribe of Nevada, USA
(11) The claim that the candles are "helpful for earache and headache, ear noise, stress" and are beneficial for "nasal breathing" and the "sense of smell"
Item 20: "Vega Whole Food Meal Replacement"
(12) Since the manufacturer's website disagrees, the direct claim that a serving contains 24 calories
(13) The implied claim that a typical consumer, who requires 2000-3000 calories a day, can get a "complete meal" from one 24 (or, indeed, 240) calorie serving
(14) The direct claim that a 24 (or, indeed, 240) calorie serving is an "excellent choice for those on a calorie-reduced diet"
Item 21: "Trayner Pinhole Glasses"
(15) The claim that the glasses "improve your eyesight and [help you] learn to see better without glasses", and that "15 minutes will train your eyes and relieve eye strain"
Item 27: "Script Symbol Reiki Necklace"
(16) The claim that the necklace can "promote health and balance"