"Powerful" sports bands win Australian "lemon" award

Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:52am EDT
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By Pauline Askin

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - Rubber wrist bands claiming to promote natural energy flow for greater strength and poise were among the products "named and shamed" by an Australian consumer group on Tuesday.

The "Power Balance" band was one of eight winners of this year's "Shonky Awards" handed out by CHOICE, an Australian consumer watchdog that vowed to "put the squeeze on this year's lemons."

"Year after year, we are continually amazed by marketers' efforts to take Australians for a ride," said CHOICE spokesman Christopher Zinn.

"We don't actually invite people getting awards because they tend to send us injunctions, but it does come as a surprise for them."

The $60 (US $59.41) "Power Balance" band worn recently by golfer Ian Poulter at the 2010 Ryder cup and celebrities like basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal was pronounced "a pricey placebo."

"The band was tested at CHOICE under controlled lab conditions which showed it did little else than empty purchasers' wallets," organizers said in a statement.

Sydney personal trainer and triathlete Andrew Wood, who has worn one of the bands for months, said he wasn't surprised.

"I don't put in on thinking I'm Samson and take it off and think all my power is gone... but you do start getting attached to it so I probably will keep wearing it," Wood told Reuters.   Continued...