ASA upholds web advertising complaint against alternative health charity

28 Apr 2011 News

Holistic health charity the Maperton Trust has been told by the Advertising Standards Authority that online advertising for its head lice repelling device is misleading and must be removed.

Holistic health charity the Maperton Trust has been told by the Advertising Standards Authority that online advertising for its head lice repelling device is misleading and must be removed.

From 1 March the ASA has been responsible for regulating marketing messages on websites and social networks under the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code and yesterday's ruling is the first time the new powers have been implemented against a charity.

The complaint questioned the wording on the charity's website that claimed one of its products repelled head lice. 

"The Head Lice Repelling Unit (HELRU) is a small device using the latest technology to repel head lice from infesting children and adults. It is in the form of a badge of the Unicorn and is pinned to the clothing of the individual. It is designed to be completely safe to the wearer. Its effect on head lice is to repel them," the website reads.

While the Trust submitted correspondence between it and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority around the effects of the device, the ASA noted the absence of any “robust human-based trials” and said the claim could not be substantiated.

"Because we had not seen such evidence in support of the claims we concluded that the website was misleading," read the adjudication.

A spokesperson for the ASA advised that the wording should have been removed from the website as soon as the adjudication was made public, however, at publication, this action has not yet been taken. 

The Maperton Trust refused to provide comment.

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