Friday, January 7, 2011

No refund yet for Power Balance bracelets in PH

MANILA, Philippines - The Power Balance bracelet is making more noise nowadays.

The maker of the performance accessory worn by well-known athletes was greeted with not-so-welcome news in 2011 as the Australian government compelled Power Balance to admit that there is no reasonable basis for its claims.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), in a statement, said the company's claims that the silicone bracelet can improve one's balance, strength and flexibility can "mislead consumers into believing that Power Balance products have benefits that they do not have."

"Power Balance has admitted that there is no credible scientific basis for the claims and therefore no reasonable grounds for making representations about the benefits of the product," ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said.

Power Balance reportedly had a record $35 million in sales last year, a far cry from the $5 million it recorded in 2009. Among its endorsers are NBA Superstar Shaquille O'Neal, who swears by the benefits of the silicone bracelet.

As a result of the incident, the company is offering a refund for customers who feel that they have been misled by the Power Balance Bracelet.

"It's up to our consumers to decide if they feel it works for them or not. In the US, we've always had a 30-day money back, no questions asked guarantee. But less than 1% of returns so far," the company told CNBC, which reported that Power Balance has also been fined by the Italian and Spanish governments.

In the Philippines, the Power Balance bracelet is distributed by Health and Beyond, a company owned by Miguel Garcia.

According to Garcia's office, their US principals have instructed them not to give any media statements for now.

They added that no order was given yet regarding a recall or refund of their products.

The Bureau of Health Devices Technology of the Health Department, meanwhile, said the product is in a grey area between a health product and a consumer product.

The agency will be discussing with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on how to handle the situation. In the meantime, it is calling on consumers to not believe claims without scientific evidence.

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