Ads for “Calorad” told how the alleged slimming aid, sold in 500ml bottles in £55 packs, had produced “beneficial effects” in 86% of people who used it over a period of three months, helping imbibers lose weight in their sleep.
Who: North Yorkshire Trading Standards and ire Trading Standards and Essentiall Yours Industries UK
When: June 2000
Where: Teesside Crown Court
Ads for "Calorad" told how the alleged slimming aid, sold in 500ml bottles in £55 packs, had produced "beneficial effects" in 86% of people who used it over a period of three months, helping imbibers lose weight in their sleep. In fact the liquid contained low cost ingredients which had no proved effect on weight loss, and Trading Standards Oficers initiated a prosecution under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968, which criminalises materially false descriptions of goods. Essentially Yours and its general manager were prosecuted, the manager under the provisions of the 1968 Act which render liable, in addition to companies responsible for such descriptions, any "consenting or conniving" director or other senior manager. The fine was £10,000.
Why this matters:
The case highlights that it is not just a rap on the knuckles that advertisers potentially face when making misleading product claims in advertising and packaging. It also underlines that prosecutions can be brought against individuals where it can be shown that they were closely involved in the activity that gave rise to the prosecution.