SensaSlim jockeying for credibility
June 9, 2011 2 Comments
When Today Tonight reported on jokey Wanderson D’Avila suing the makers of a seemingly gimmicky weight loss spray for riding under weight, viewers were reassured that lawyers for both sides claimed it “wasn’t a publicity stunt”.
“It couldn’t be better publicity for a spray that’s made the headlines for all the right reasons”, grinned reporter Damien Hansen. How fast things change with SensaSlim now making the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
On June 1st, A Current Affair reported on “the slimming spray swindle” with investors claiming that a mere fraction of promised marketing and advertising actually eventuated. This left them unable to sell the product and may well explain why genuine SensaSlim is available on eBay for as little as $26:00 plus $7:70 postage. This is well under the $69:95 plus Air freight costs that SensaSlim are seeking on their website and markedly less than retail.
“They took us absolutely hook, line and sinker”, said advertising consultant Jack Singleton. He is owed $20,000 by SensaSlim – money he considers lost. What also stood out was the theme now dogging SensaSlim from Europe to Australia. That the much touted evidence is nowhere to be seen. As such the claims of research, subject numbers and results are simply hearsay. Effectively a slogan. As ACA rolled on SensaSlim credibility was challenged further.
Three of SensaSlim’s five ingredients are the same as SlimMist – one of the weight loss scams of once jailed Aussie fraudster and conman, Peter Foster. Going after SensaSlim further ACA noted that their head office is in Switzerland as was SlimMist and their use of twins in promotion was also a feature of one of Foster’s illegal dalliances. None of this is to be construed as conclusive evidence of a scam. It may all quite likely be coincidence. However, the absence of SensaSlim Australia’s Managing Director, Peter O’Brien, didn’t help “the world’s number one weight loss product”.
Indeed, the presence of Peter O’Brien hasn’t done the SensaSlim reputation any good either. As you can read in the previous post republished with permission from Dr. Ken Harvey, he is being sued for defamation after submitting a complaint about SensaSlim’s grandiose yet unverifiable promotional claims. This complaint was submitted to the Complaints Resolution Panel (CRP), the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). These bodies deal with complaints about the relevant Advertising Code, Goods Act and Competition and Consumer Goods Act respectively.
Dr. Harvey is one of seven complainants. ACA reporter Justin Armsden sought to speak with two complainants both of whom are being sued for defamation by SensaSlim. As such they are unable to comment. However Armsden did some “digging” and presented two affidavits submitted to the NSW Supreme Court by Managing Director Peter O’Brien – the plaintiff. Here’s where things get interesting.
The witness to both affidavits is listed as Richard Scott Cooper and they are apparently signed by him. A cursory glance at an overlay of both signatures shows they are not the same.
Furthermore his capacity as witness is listed as “solicitor”. Yet Cooper was barred from practicing in NSW in 1990. There is not another Richard Cooper, Solicitor, registered in Australia. Cooper did some consultancy work for SensaSlim leaving the country in February this year. The documents were filed in April and May this year. Richard Cooper confirms that one signature is “definitely” not his. It is unclear how valid the other is.
We’ll get back to ACA and meet the erstwhile (and rather angry) Medical Research Director of SensaSlim, Dr Matthew Capehorn in due time. First, let’s review the Today Tonight segment involving jockey Wanderson D’Avila which, thanks again to Peter O’Brien, has made the news just recently. On June 5th O’Brien published an advertisement in The Sunday Advertiser.
Headed “Thank you for suing us” it has been positively covered on news site Australia.to. The most recent article on June 5th was written by one… Peter O’Brien. I have no idea if there is any relation, but the article is published under the sites “Your Say” URL. Both the advertisement and the article may be a subliminal riposte to the ACA revelations. The ad’ is self explanatory, whilst the article broaches the claim that the jockey of Black Caviar uses SensaSlim as his “secret weapon”, now with the added benefit of calming nerves.
The jockey of super horse Black Caviar has admitted using the controversial slimming spray as his secret weapon allowing him to calm his nerves, forget about food cravings and focus on Black Caviar, but critics warn that this could lead to unexpected excess weight loss and potential disqualification.
“I am aware of the law suit, but the benefits outweigh the risks,” Nolen said. “This has been a lifeline to many jockeys.”
The O’Brien article claims the advertisement is a risky strategy that has “lawyers scratching their heads”. I disagree. The chances of Wanderson D’Avila being able to prove a causal relationship between losing an extra 800 grams and the correlating use of an as yet unproven agent are highly remote. However. Peter O’Brien – either one – may need to be aware that the advertisement lacks a Complimentary Healthcare Council number. According to both the CHC and the ACCC such accreditation aims to provide,
“reliable and quality advice and information to our members, government, key stakeholders, the media and consumers.”