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Herbal Healer / M Reinhard / 14014

Ruling of the : ASA Directorate
In the matter between:
Miss M Reinhard Complainant(s)/Appellant(s)
Dr Abdallah KIwa Respondent

03 Sep 2009

Ms Reinhard lodged a consumer complaint against a pamphlet advertising the services of Dr. Abdallah Kiwa.

The advertisement states, inter alia, “DR. ABDALLAH KIWA”

“HIS SPECIALITIES INCLUDE, BUT NOT LIMITED TO:

  • ENSURES SUCCESS AS YOU GET RICH QUICKLY
  • BRING BACK LOST LOVER…
  • REMOVE BAD SPELLS FROM HOMES, BUSINESS ECT
  • ENSURES THAT PROMOTION YOU HAVE DESIRED FOR A LONG TIME AT WORK OR IN YOUR CAREER.
  • REMOVE BLACK SPOTS THAT KEEP TAKING YOUR MONEY AWAY
  • FIND OUT WHY YOU ARE NOT PROGRESSING IN LIFE & THE SOLUTION
  • INTRODUCING(MULONDOX) BLEND FOR ENLARGING THE PENIS IN THE BOTH LENGTH AND GITH (sic) IT STIMULATES THE TISSUE AND MUSCLES…
  • READ AND TELL ALL YOUR PROBLEMS BEFORE YOU EVEN MENTION THEM TO HIM
  • ELIMINATE IN-FAMILY FIGHT BETWEEN CHILDREN AND PARENTS, IN-LAWS HUSBAND AND WIFE AND ENSURE PEACE AND HARMONY IN HOME
  • RECOVERS STOLEN PROPERTY AND TRACE WHEREABOUTS OF PEOPLE THAT HURT YOU
  • GAURANTEED THAT YOU ARE LOVED AND TRUSTED BY YOUR COLLEAGUES, HUSBAND,WIFE, IN LAWS, FRIENDS ECT
  • GET YOU MARRIED TO THAT LOVER OF YOUR LIFE IN A SHORT TIME AND SEAL UP YOUR MARRIAGE WITH INTERNAL LOVE AND HAPPINESS
  • ENSURE THAT A SINGLE PERSON GETS A PARTNER IN A SHORT TIME
  • BRING TO SEE YOUR ENEMIES AND MAKE DEMANDS ON THEM USING A MIRROR”.

COMPLAINT
In essence, the complainant submitted that the pamphlet is misleading as it makes outrageous claims without any proof that the said claims are true. The advertiser is “duping” people into paying for services that cannot possibly be delivered.

RELEVANT CLAUSES OF THE CODE OF ADVERTISING PRACTICE
In light of the complaint the following clauses of the Code were taken into account.

• Section II, Clause 4.1 – Substantiation

• Section II, Clause 4.2.1 – Misleading claims

RESPONSE
All reasonable attempts were made by the ASA Directorate to elicit a response from the advertiser, but the advertiser failed to respond.

ASA DIRECTORATE RULING
The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation as submitted by the complainant.

In the absence of a response from the advertiser, the Directorate had no alternative but to accept the complainant’s version of what occurred.

It is firstly noted that the acceptability and/or legality of the respondent’s practice is precluded from the ASA’s jurisdiction. The only consideration for the ASA is whether or not the respondent’s advertisement falls foul of any of the provisions of the Code.

Clause 4.1 of Section II requires advertisers to hold independent verification from a credible expert to substantiate all objectively verifiable claims. The respondent has not provided any proof that it is able to successfully provide the promised services such as “…GET RICH QUICKLY”; “ENSURES THAT PROMOTION…”; “ENLARGING THE PENIS…” or “RECOVERS STOLEN PROPERTY…”.

A hypothetical reasonable person would, on seeing the pamphlet, expect the respondent to be able to provide the promised services, and would therefore be misled, as this has not be proven to be true.

Given the above, the respondent’s pamphlet is currently in contravention of Clause 4.1 of Section II.

The respondent is therefore required to:

  • Withdraw the claims complained of in their current format;

  • The process of withdrawing the claims must be actioned with immediate effect;

  • The process of withdrawing the claims must be completed within the deadlines stipulated in Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and

  • The pamphlet may not be used again in its current format in future.

The Directorate deems it unnecessary to consider Clause 4.2.1 at this stage.

In view of the fact that the respondent has failed to respond and an adverse ruling has been made, the ASA will issue an Ad Alert to its members with reference to the advertisement in question.

The complaint is upheld.

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