It makes such an appealing story. Magical bracelets, worn by athletes and celebrities to improve strength, balance and flexibility. The wristband-maker, Power Balance, claims that a special hologram set in the wristband’s silicone enhances the body's natural energy. The company also claims the products were worn during the World Series, NBA Finals and the Super Bowl. The bracelets have star power too, and have been spotted on celebrities including David Beckham, Shaquille O’Neal, Leonardo DiCaprio, P Diddy and Kate Middleton.
It now turns out they might as well have worn rubber bands. The wristbands have been declared a misleading consumer health product.
The wristband’s claims were challenged by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). They wanted to know – Do the silicone wristbands actually work? Are they worth the $29.95 price tag? The answers turned out to be no and no.
The California company behind the Power Balance wristbands has admitted there is no science behind their products and they engaged in conduct considered misleading under Australia’s laws. They have been required to issue a public statement that includes the following:
“If you feel you have been misled by our promotions, we wish to unreservedly apologise and offer a full refund.”
The company has been ordered to change its packaging and promotional materials, and to remove the words “performance technology” from the wristband.
ACCC’s chairman said, “Consumers should be wary of other similar products on the market that make unsubstantiated claims, when they may be no more beneficial than a rubber band.”
The company began selling the bracelets in 2007, selling $8,000 worth of products. For 2010 Power Balance estimated more than $35 million in sales.
For consumers outside of Australia, the company issued a statement Jan.4 in response to news coverage, claiming the wristbands work. The statement reads, in part, “The existing reports out there are fundamentally incorrect.