Refunds for Buyers of Alternative Health Therapy Devices

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
News Release, May 5, 2000

Consumers misled by claims about alternative health therapy devices marketed as the 'Vital Silver 3000 Zapper', the 'Vital Silver 2000 Automatic' and the 'Vital Silver 2000' will receive refunds after Australian Competition and Consumer Commission action.

The Federal Court of Australia has made declarations that Vital Earth Company Pty Limited and its director Mr Darryl John Jones breached the misleading and deceptive conduct provisions of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

The Federal Court has granted injunctions against Vital Earth Company Pty Limited: restraining it from making representations including those set out below; requiring it to provide refunds until 17 July 2000 to persons who may have been misled into purchasing 'Vital Silver 3000 Zapper', the 'Vital Silver 2000 Automatic' or the 'Vital Silver 2000'; requiring it to forward a letter to each person who has purchased or agreed to purchase the 'Vital Silver 3000 Zapper', the 'Vital Silver 2000 Automatic' or the 'Vital Silver 2000', correcting the false or misleading or deceptive representations made by Vital Earth Company Pty Limited; and ordering it to pay a $9000 contribution towards the ACCC's legal costs.

The Federal Court also injuncted Mr Jones from engaging in advertising or publishing materials concerning the Vital Silver 3000 Zapper', the 'Vital Silver 2000 Automatic' or the 'Vital Silver 2000'. Mr Jones has also been ordered to attend a trade practices seminar to ensure future compliance with Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974.

Representations made by Vital Earth Company Pty Limited included: that the colloidal silver produced by the Vital Silver 2000 and / or the Vital Silver 3000 - Zapper kills all disease-causing bacteria, fungi and virus within six minutes of contact; that colloidal silver has no harmful side effects; that colloidal silver could be used as an antibiotic for all the acquired diseases of active AIDS; that colloidal silver is effective with more than 650 different pathogenic bacteria and virus types; and that colloidal silver has been used successfully against diseases including AIDS, cholera, diabetes, leprosy, leukaemia, lupus, skin cancer, syphilis and whooping cough.

"The ACCC regards misleading or deceptive claims about therapeutic devices seriously", ACCC Chairman, Professor Allan Fels, said today. "Consumers are vulnerable when buying alternative health products because they usually do not have the specialist knowledge needed to determine whether claims about the products are true. Those unfortunate enough to have life-threatening diseases may be particularly vulnerable to claims that devices can alleviate or cure their particular conditions. It is therefore imperative that consumers are properly informed by advertising of therapeutic goods that is honest, accurate and complete".

All Court orders were made by consent of the company and Mr Jones.

This page was posted on August 17, 2005.

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