Trade Me pulls more than 100 amber bead necklace listings

Numerous warnings have been issued about amber beads, which are commonly used to help babies troubled by teething.
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Numerous warnings have been issued about amber beads, which are commonly used to help babies troubled by teething.

Trade Me has removed more than 100 amber bead necklace listings due to concerns members were misrepresenting health benefits.

In a blog post on Monday, the auction site said some parents "absolutely swear by them" as they were often worn by babies to help ease teething troubles.

However, they are sometimes marketed as having "healing powers", such as helping with pain relief, getting a better sleep, or relieving depression and anxiety.

Last year, the Commerce Commission ruled there was insufficient scientific proof to back those claims. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had similar concerns.

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As a result, Trade Me undertook a review of the site and ended up removing more than 100 listings and sent warnings to those sellers.

In its blog, the company noted there was a lot of robust debate about the therapeutic benefits of amber beads – from which ones were the best, through to "how on earth they could actually work".

"It's seemingly the stuff of magic.

"Last year the Commerce Commission decided amber beads are not magic and gave formal advice to an online seller who had been making some outrageous claims about the powers of their amber beads."

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The auction site even joked that amber beads contained the essence of Unicorn Dreams and would make all your wishes come true.

It warned its members they could not make unsubstantiated claims about amber beads in the listing.

"If your claims can't be rigorously scientifically proven, then don't state them."

Trade Me advised sellers to ensure the wording used in listings did not breach any law.

EXAMPLES OF MISLEADING CLAIMS:

* Amber beads/succinic acid has been proven to be the equal to or better than any commercial drug, and much less expensive

* When worn against the skin, the amber warms and releases the oil that helps sooth and relieve symptoms of teething

* Research has proved that succinic acid (or any other property) has a very positive influence on teething babies/pets/anyone

* Succinic acid strengthens the body and improves immunity.

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