Slimmer's anger over weight-loss site's fraud
A woman is outraged that personal photos chronicling her weight loss have been used without her permission in an online advertisement to promote a slimming drug because it "makes a mockery" of her journey.
It took New Plymouth woman Michelle Matangi, 32, just over a year to lose 42kg through diet and regular exercise.
She has kept the weight off for five years.
To inspire others, Matangi started her Primal Journey blog and Facebook page, posting daily photographs of her meals and before and after pictures of her weight loss.
Matangi's Facebook followers told her that an advertisement on the Eat Well, Live Well Facebook page was using her before and after photos - with a different identity - to promote a supplement that claims to "melt" fat.
The advertisement claimed that "Ann" had written to them about her "stunning eight-week transformation" in which she "lost an incredible 19kgs".
"After several emails she agreed to come in and have a chat with us and revealed that the absolute key factor in her transformation were two relatively effective fat melting supplements," it read.
More than 3000 people had "liked" the photo and there were up to 150 comments from people expressing their interest.
The photo was taken down after Matangi's Facebook followers left comments criticising the advertisement.
She said she was not able to get hold of the page administrator to complain.
The unauthorised use of her photos and identity were reported to Facebook, which reviewed the photos but "found no breach".
"There was no apology, no nothing. It was taken down like it never happened," said Matangi.
Matangi now wants compensation but because there are no contact details on the Eat Well, Live Well Facebook page, she has not been able to make her case.
"In the future I would like to write a cookbook and I don't want it to take away from my credibility - there's definitely damage been done," she said.
"I feel like it completely makes a mockery of all my hard work and determination in how hard it really was to lose the weight," she said.
Matangi said the advertisement promoted a "quick fix" for overweight people.
"I feel sorry for the poor desperate overweight people who would see that as a quick fix, because that's what people want. It's so fraudulent."
- © Fairfax NZ News