Page last updated at 12:15 GMT, Tuesday, 15 July 2008 13:15 UK

'Fat-burning' bead marketing ends

Overweight man
The OFT said many are mislead by 'miracle' weight loss products

A company that said its "fat-burning" beads triggered "automatic weight loss" has agreed to stop marketing in the UK.

One claim suggested that Accu-Slim Beads worked "faster than total starvation" by placing one bead behind each ear.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) sought assurances from Global DM Licensing, based in Hong Kong, that it would stop mailings being sent to UK consumers.

The OFT says thousands fall victim to claims about weight loss products.

Misleading claims

The company, using the name The AccuSlim Centre, claimed the beads were "fat burning acupuncture without needles, diets, exercise or effort".

It claimed that users could eat as much as they liked but still lose 30lbs in 30 days, as the bead stimulated acupressure points that led to automatic weight loss.

The company claimed guaranteed results and charged 65 for a package of up to 120 beads.

The OFT demanded evidence to support the claims and said that clinical papers on acupuncture that it received in return did not provide satisfactory proof about the claims made in the mail-shots.

The company, which believed that bead acupuncture was as effective as traditional acupuncture, agreed to stop sending the mailings to UK consumers and to adopt stricter policies for future advertising in the UK.

"Every year thousands of people fall victim to misleading claims about products that promise weight loss without exercise or dieting," said Mike Haley, the OFT's head of consumer protection.

"The OFT will continue to take action against such companies to stop them from exploiting customers."

Previous research by the watchdog estimated that 200,000 UK consumers fall victim to misleading miracle health and slimming cure claims every year, losing around 20m.

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