BBB National Programs Archive

Proactol Ltd. Participates In ERSP Forum

New  York,  NY – April  28,  2008 –  The  Electronic  Retailing  Self-Regulation  Program (ERSP) has determined  that Proactol, Ltd., marketer of the Proactol  Fat Binder, has provided a reasonable basis for certain advertising claims while voluntarily modifying others.   The marketer’s  advertising  came  to  ERSP’s  attention  pursuant  to ERSP’s ongoing monitoring program.

ERSP, the electronic direct-response industry’s  self-regulatory  forum, is  administered by   the  Council  of   Better  Business  Bureaus  (CBBB)  with  policy  oversight  by   the National Advertising Review Council (NARC).

ERSP   reviewed  advertising  claims  in  Internet advertising,  in  videos  posted to the YouTube video-sharing Website, and on a MySpace Website page for the product. Claims at issue included:

  • “Helps Decrease  Your Appetite”
  • “Helps Reduce Food Cravings”
  • “Helps Reduce Excess Body Weight”
  • “Helps Reduce Your Calorie Intake”
  • “Proactol has been  clinically tested to bind up to 28% of dietary fats”
  • “Medically Backed  Weight Loss”
  • “Is a certified organic medical device”

ERSP   determined  that  the  marketer provided  a reasonable  basis  for  its  general performance claims  that Proactol  “helps  reduce” calorie  intake,  excess body weight, food  cravings  and appetite,  but recommended that  any representations  regarding weight  loss  be properly  qualified  by  indicating  that the product should  be used in conjunction with a low-calorie diet and a routine exercise regimen.

The marketer  informed ERSP  that it has removed claims from the US  version of  its Website and product labeling  stating  that the product is “clinically proven” in favor of the modified  claim  “clinically tested.”   Further,  the marketer asserted it  has removed from its U.S. Website the claim that it is a “certified organic medical device.”

Following  its  review  of   the evidence,  ERSP   determined  the  marketer provided  a reasonable basis that the product’s active ingredient – a fiber complex – has been “clinically tested.”  However, ERSP  recommended the marketer discontinue use of  the claim in instances where it makes specific, quantified reference to the product’s effectiveness,   to  avoid   suggesting   to  consumers  that  the  product  is   “clinically proven” to effect dietary fat intake.

ERSP  also  determined  that the statements of  the  two doctors  read  in conjunction with  the general  comments about the clinical testing  conducted on Proactol  provided a reasonable basis for the claim that the product is “medically backed.”

Further, ERSP  confirmed that the claim that Proactol “Is a certified organic medical device” no longer appears on the U.S. version of the Proactol Website.

In its decision, ERSP  noted that it has been advised that the marketer has had videos containing  inaccurate  claims  removed  from  the  Internet.  ERSP   has  alerted  the marketer   to  other   third-party   advertisements   containing   unsupported   and/or inaccurate claims and requested the marketer use its best efforts to address these advertisements as well.

The company,  in its marketer’s statement, said “Proactol Ltd has fully supported the ERSP  self regulatory programme’s inquiry and has appreciated the professionalism shown through out this investigation” and “Proactol Ltd will ardently try to adhere to the comments and suggestions made  within this inquiry.”