May 10, 2012

Kingston Police Selling Power Balance Wristbands

I was aghast as Cost-Co on the weekend, and it had nothing to do with low prices or 50 lbs. bags of dog food. As I was entering the store I saw a strange union set up at a table beside where the cards were flashed to gain entrance. I blinked and took a second look, but, unfortunately, it only made the picture more clear. The Kingston police were selling Power Balance wristbands.

I looked around for the same disbelief that must have sat registered on my face smeared on anyone else, but I didn't see it. I could forgive the lack of awareness for the people around me, but from the police I could only find contempt for their negligence and stupidity.

The police are people who investigate things and are trusted to make good decisions, but any quick search will show that this was a boondoggle from the start. Power Balance wristbands are a rubber bracelet with a hologram in it, that is claimed to improve strength, athleticism and balance, by working with the body's natural energy fields and frequency. The only problem is that it's a known and proven scam.

The Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies studied them and found that, "Results indicated that there was no statistically significant mean change in balance performance brought about by either the placebo or the Device." The BBC tested them and the headline of the story explains the conclusion, "Power Balance band is placebo, say experts" and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry took former Olympian Dominique Dawes and 14 other people test them and found that Power Balance bracelets are "A bust".  Look up any independent test of them and see the conclusions.

In fact why even look for independent tests, here is the word from Power Balance themselves, "We admit that there is no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims and therefore we engaged in misleading conduct in breach of s52 of the Trade Practices Act 1974." which they published in Australia after losing a battle with the trade commission there. Power Balance has also been fined in Italy and the Netherlands for making unverifiable claims. 

All the evidence points to the bracelets being a scam, and also shows that Power Balance is run by a company who actively deceives the public. Why on Earth would the Kingston police support this and even advertise for it on their own website?  They give the disclaimer that,  "Kingston Police dose not guarantee or endorse the effects and benefits claimed from this product." only after listing a clear message that Power Balance would only dream of.

The only redeeming quality is that some of the money goes to help the Special Olympics, which I can tell you as a former Personal Support worker for people with special needs is a great cause. I encourage donations to the Special Olympics, but am dismayed at the Kingston Polices ignorance, negligence, and lack of investigation into a proven swindle. The police are supposed to be protecting the public from things like this, not actively taking part in it.  

In Australia the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has ordered Power Balance Australia to refund all customers who feel they were misled by the supposed benefits of Power Balance bracelets and in Canada we have the Police raising money with it....

Thanks for reading,
-the moral skeptic

13 comments:

  1. I was shocked to see that the Kingston Police force can perpetuate such a fraud on their website. Thank you for bringing this to people's attention

    ReplyDelete
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  2. Next they'll be selling Dr. Ho's Magic Bracelet to cure diseases. All scams. Surely the police can find a much better avenue for raising funds for this worthwhile cause.

    Also - why wouldn't they say something about the Special Olympics instead of Ontario Law Enforcement? What are they really trying to promote here?

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  3. I emailed the Kingston Police to inform them of the scam they are selling and asking them to remove it from the website

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  4. I was devastated to learn that my mother bought one, and it works! What devastated me is that she convinced herself she now had more balanced. However, one who believes this may in fact have more balance. That study was not done, and needs to be.

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  5. Yeah, it was a pretty sad story. I hope the police don't have any cows to take to market because they are sure to come back wit h magic beans.

    I emailed them too and told them about the evidence, complaints I had with them selling Power Balance and promoted the alternative Placebo Bands, but have yet to receive a response.

    Yeah, there were studies done as I linked to in my article, but the Placebo Band website does an amazing job at demonstrating exactly how this fraud takes place. http://skepticbros.com/placebo-bands/

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  6. John Myste: That study - the one that you may in fact be more balanced if you believe that you are - *has* been done. That's exactly what the placebo effect is, and it's temporary. Your mother probably felt more balanced in the short-term because she expected to feel that way. Eventually, she'll forget that the bracelet is supposed to be doing that, or she'll begin to suspect that the bracelet is 'running out'. Conveniently, this will be around the same time that she realizes she's no longer balanced.

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  7. Neil,

    My mother heard that the bracelet is a fraud and fell over. She got back up and removed it.

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  8. I don't believe that bracelet Power balance. i had been trying that bracelet but nothing happens in me.Believing that you are in balance and your imagination also helps and not the bracelet anymore.
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  9. Power balance wristbands are fraudulent but genuine silicone wristbands are still a great way for fundraising. Here I got them from Handband.

    http://www.handband.com.au/au/

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