Bead maker disregards criticism of its claims

Last updated 05:00 18/06/2014
baby beads
CLAIMS CRITICISED: Baa Baa Beads claim that its beads calm teething babies has been called irresponsible by the Advertising Standards Authority.

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A company that says amber beads can help babies through teething has been told its claims are misleading and socially irresponsible - but has not changed its advertising.

The Advertising Standards Authority criticised Baa Baa Beads in a decision made public this week.

The company was told it should not claim its amber necklaces could help soothe babies during teething.

The authority's complaints board ruled that claims made on its website were misleading and socially irresponsible.

Baa Baa Beads did not respond to the complaint, and had not altered its website yesterday. It refused to comment when contacted by The Dominion Post.

The website said the beads would "release healing oils to help calm and sooth [sic] babies and toddlers through the discomfort of teething".

In an FAQ section, it quoted a "scientist", Veniamin Khazanov, who claimed amber possessed "known anti-inflammatory properties . . . the natural form of succinic acid . . . energy balance at the cellular level", and had been "proven the equal or better of many commercial drugs".

In a previous ASA case last year, it had been told claims that wearing the beads helped with earache, inflammation, upset stomach or fever were unsubstantiated and irresponsible.

In that decision, its responses were called "insufficient" by the ASA and "did not adequately show that wearing the beads could produce any of the positive effects or benefits listed on the website".

Authority complaints manager Alison Hopkins said 23 separate complaints about amber beads against various companies had been upheld since 2012, but it was impossible to enforce the decisions if they chose not to comply. "It is very difficult to force compliance."

However, under new consumer protection laws that came into force yesterday, companies have to be able to substantiate claims they make if asked by the Commerce Commission.

Competition general manager Kate Morrison said Baa Baa Beads' unsubstantiated claims would be covered under the change. It would assess whether to take any steps against the company.

The commission is able to prosecute companies that make claims they cannot support.

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- The Dominion Post

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