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Australian Mum Singlehandedly Defeats Sex Magnet Advertiser PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

Sandra Quincy writes from Australia to tell us about her successful anti-quackery activities "down under."

I thought that you might be interested in the success that I have had with getting a magnetic product removed from sale in Australia.  It all started when a Century Mail booklet fell out of my October 2008 Reader's Digest.  I looked at it out of curiosity and saw an ad for this little plastic case called the Sex Magnet.  It claimed to increase a man's libido and promote oxygen and blood flow if the man put it into his trouser pocket.  I was so angry at such a stupid claim that I wrote to the Australian Complaints Resolution Panel.  They investigate therapeutic goods.  They responded to my complaint and said that they would investigate the claim when they next met.  I got a reply last week.

They asked the advertiser to back up their claims.  The advertiser said that "whilst this company has not undertaken its own empirical research into the effects of magnetic therapy, there is a wealth of worldwide research, knowledge and information into this field" and that "the specific issue of improved blood flow mentioned is highlighted in the attached research precised article."  The panel looked at the evidence and found that it did not provide support for the claims made for the product.  The bibliographical references did not in any way relate to libido and the one complete paper had no relevance to the claims made.

The panel found that the advertisement was misleading and unverified and it abused the trust and exploited the lack of knowledge of consumers.  The advertisers are to withdraw the advertisement from future publications, arrange for a retraction to be published in the magazine (Reader's Digest) that had the booklet included in a mailout, put a retraction on their website and mail a retraction to all people who bought the product.

I can hardly wait to see the retraction in a future Reader's Digest.  The website retraction must be shown for 60 days and it has to be on the front page and viewed without scrolling down.  It will be found at www.centurymail.com.au.  I might add that the product was being sold for $39.95 plus postage and handling.  I am so happy at the outcome in this case but there is still so much more that needs to be done to stop companies like this from exploiting gullible people.  I am a mum of three adult children and I work as a teacher aide.  Once I would have expected someone else to complain but since getting hooked on the JREF site a few years ago I now try to speak/act up when I can.

Kudos to Sandra! I have complained about a lot of quack claims to magazine and newspaper editors, to the FDA, the FTC, the Better Business Bureau, the state Attorney General's office, medical boards, etc. but I seldom get any kind of satisfactory response, and it's easy to become discouraged. Doctors rarely lose their licenses for quackery, they only lose them for things like sexually abusing patients. People like Kevin Trudeau reinvent themselves and keep making millions even after regulatory actions stop some of their activities. A recent report showed that the FDA had only sent out 44 warning letters to supplement manufacturers in the entire year of 2008, most based on false medical claims on websites. See this site for details on that. Daily  It can seem like a losing battle, but if we don't keep up the fight the world will slide back into a prescientific superstitious medieval morass.


Sandra's story is a breath of fresh air and it encourages me to keep complaining. I hope readers will be inspired to follow her example. We may feel powerless, but each one of us can do some small thing to promote science and critical thinking, even if it's just a letter to the editor of your local paper to protest their uncritical mention of a psychic or a dowser. To quote President Obama, "Yes, we can." We can make a difference.

 

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written by Willy K, January 29, 2009
increase a man's libido and promote oxygen and blood flow if the man put it into his trouser pocket


Sounds nuts to me. smilies/wink.gif
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written by mikekoz68, January 29, 2009
"Sounds nuts to me"

this coming from a guy named "Willy"...
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written by Skepticalcyclist, January 29, 2009
Wow, that's fantastic Sandra. However, I note the product is currently still available via their website (http://www.centurymail.com.au/...gnets.html). Keep an eye on this to make sure it goes away!

Good work.
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written by daveg703, January 29, 2009
Sorry, fellas, but in this case your skeptical, pun-tainted comments are on the wrong track, and are about to be derailed. Without troubling Randi about a challenge for his million bucks, since this does not involve the paranormal, I can state with absolute certainty that I can demonstrate the same effects claimed for that fraudulent device- and do it repeatedly under any reasonable test conditions that you wish to specify. This device or apparatus will perform as claimed whether inserted into either left or right hand front pocket.

It is my dear wife's hand- and it works on me every time, without fail.

Thank you all for your kind attention. Now who among you would like a demonstration?
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written by Rogue Medic, January 29, 2009
Congratulations Sandra Quincy.
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Intersting
written by advancedGIR, January 29, 2009
So, if I understand well, quackeries that targets critically ill persons are nearly impossible to stop but as soon as it concerns man libido and potent, authorities start taking it very seriously...
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written by Roo, January 29, 2009
Wow! This is fantastic news, and very encouraging. A lone voice in the wilderness CAN make a difference. Even if we take these quacks down one at a time, it's still worth the effort.

The only way a man could get it up (sorry) with the aid of a magnet would be if he had a 'Prince Albert' installed.

Have a good weekend everyone. smilies/cool.gif
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written by BillyJoe, January 30, 2009
this coming from a guy named "Willy"...

I used to be called Willy in primary school, but I have grown up...
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Wait and See
written by DrMatt, January 30, 2009
Not only have they not posted the retraction, a search for "magnet" on their site leads swiftly to the original unmodified product claim. I can just see them whining "caveat emptor" or, as usual, "customers like these so we have to sell them".

Oh, and to daveg703: Hahaha, congratulations you lucky chap.
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written by C.Watts, January 30, 2009
Well done Sandra smilies/smiley.gif

From a fellow Australian.
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One more voice
written by Culmidon, January 30, 2009
Allow me to add my congratulations to Sandra for a job well done. I also checked the website and noted the absence of the retraction. I read the copy -- standard woo-woo wording -- but was most struck by the red "warning" at the bottom that read: "(Not to be used by individuals fitted with Pace-makers, insulin pumps or transdermal drug delivery patches)." I can understand, possibly, the pace-maker or the insulin pump being affected by a magnet (depending of course on the strength of the magnet) but I fail to see how a transdermal patch is going to be affected by a magnet. Just more pseudoscientific nonsensse, I suspect.
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Sex Magnet still for sale
written by jimgerrish, January 30, 2009
I checked the Web-site; no retraction and the item is still being advertised and sold. I sent an e-mail to the company, chiding them for continuing to sell a known fraudulent product. If everyone who clicks on that link from reading this article does the same, perhaps they'll get the feeling that someone is watching them.
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"Magnet Therapy Wand"
written by GMJ, January 30, 2009
In 2004 I attended a new age "Healing Arts Fair." At one of the booths a man was selling and demonstrating magnet therapy devices. It consisted of some 12 inch magnets that were fastened on to some cheap tennis rackets. The instructions told consumers to wave the racket over their bodies and that doing so would increase blood flow, align your chakras, prevent cancer and stop male pattern baldness. The rackets were selling for two hundred dollars each. The term "healing arts" is a tip-off that quacks of all sorts are welcome to push their useless products and services.
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Optically Nuetral?
written by cwniles, January 30, 2009
Well done Ms. Quincy. I too have sent an e-mail to the seller advising that people are watching and it would behoove them follow the directions of the Australian Complaints Resolution Panel ASAP.

By the way, I noticed one of the selling points of this tripe is that it is "optically neutral". The only thing I could find referring to optically neutral was this definition of inert...

Not active; inert; esp., not exhibiting any action or activity on polarized light; optically neutral; -- said of isomeric forms of certain substances, in distinction from other forms which are optically active; as, racemic acid is an inactive tartaric acid.

To me the thing appears to be made out of red plastic that I imagine is housing an old refrigerator magnet, does anyone know what about that would be considered optically neutral or is this just another important sounding word they threw in to make it seem legit?

I imagine optically nuetral could just mean the thing does absolutely nothing.....
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written by Cuddy Joe, January 30, 2009
Dammit, now I see where I went wrong. I bought one of those Sex Magnets, but the only results I got was that more people than usual were calling me an a-s-s. I had put it in my back pocket.
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written by cwniles, January 30, 2009
jeeze, even with copy and paste I still manage to misspell neutral several times in that last post....duh
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Another complaint
written by kdv@deveaux.info, January 30, 2009
I checked the Complaints Panel website, and apparently centurymail have 14 days to act on the decision, so I guess we'll need to watch them for a couple of weeks.

While I was at the centurymail website, I notice they are advertising another device, a "Health Bracelet", which according to the anonymous (of course) testimonials (of course) cures pain, insomnia, and intestinal problems by magnetotherapy. So, for good measure, I submitted a complaint to the Complaints Resolution Panel about that one as well.

Daveg: thanks for the offer, I'd like a demonstration. How do I contact your wife? smilies/wink.gif

Ken
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Is that a magnet in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
written by Blondin, January 30, 2009
It's a good thing magnets don't really affect us. Otherwise carrying a magnet in your pocket for too long might make all your erections point north. smilies/wink.gif
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Its on sale in the UK
written by RobbieD, January 30, 2009
I found this for sale here in the UK with the following line in the description

'It is 100% safe with no known side effects (do not use if pacemaker fitted)'

You could not make this up!
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written by Starthinker, January 30, 2009
No wonder my condom demagnetizers aren't selling. I should be selling condom magnetizers!
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written by BillyJoe, January 30, 2009
KDV: I checked the Complaints Panel website, and apparently centurymail have 14 days to act on the decision

Yes, when I read: "The advertisers are to withdraw...", I immediately made a mental note that will be some delay untill the directive comes into effect. Thanks for looking into and confirming that. You are a true sceptic. smilies/smiley.gif
...and shame on the rest of you. smilies/grin.gif

regards,
BJ
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written by ConTester, January 30, 2009
Occasionally the Lone Sceptic manages to make a difference. Well done, Sandra Quincy! Would that more people paid your kind of attention and asked such pertinent and penetrating questions – with comparable persistence.

Not too long ago, the suppliers of Kevin Trudeau’s [i]Mega Memory[/i] in South Africa agreed to withdraw an infomercial because of the persistent complaints of a lone individual. Actually, the product itself is no longer on offer here, having been withdrawn from the shelves, no doubt because of that individual’s determined endeavours that surely go beyond what has been publicly reported.

These examples go to show that the individual can on occasion make some headway in the fight against woo-woo.
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written by Alan3354, January 30, 2009
written by daveg703, January 29, 2009

Sorry, fellas, but in this case your skeptical, pun-tainted comments are on the wrong track, and are about to be derailed. Without troubling Randi about a challenge for his million bucks, since this does not involve the paranormal, I can state with absolute certainty that I can demonstrate the same effects claimed for that fraudulent device- and do it repeatedly under any reasonable test conditions that you wish to specify. This device or apparatus will perform as claimed whether inserted into either left or right hand front pocket.

It is my dear wife's hand- and it works on me every time, without fail.

Thank you all for your kind attention. Now who among you would like a demonstration?

I would, I would!!! Send her over.
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written by hamradioguy, January 30, 2009
To paraphrase Mae West, "Is that a Sex Magnet in your pocket, or are you glad to see me?"
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written by Peter9971, January 30, 2009
Kudos to Ms. Sandra Quincy. It is not everyday we see someone being effective in complaining about woo woos in their community. Keep it up!
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written by Radwaste, January 31, 2009
What must these quacks think an MRI does?
-----
But while I applaud this (pending) success, "Airborne" is still at it in the US.
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written by YoPopa, January 31, 2009
Great for Sandra! An inspiration for us all to keep up the fight.

To Radwaste re. Airborne, yes it is still sold but complaints about it don't always fall on deaf ears. I wrote to a local department store chain in Maine (Reny's) last September complaining about Airborne. I got a very nice letter in return from a real person which said "We appreciate your insight regarding the product Airborne that has been in our stores. Thank you for your input. We bought this item as a closeout opportunity from a respected vendor and we were unaware of any credibility issues with the product. We'll be more careful next time."

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written by BillyJoe, January 31, 2009
Fromk th esame website:

I've heard that the pills are sugar, but I don't know that for sure.

Magnetic Earrings
So easy to put on and take off, you’ll also have the added benefits that some believe magnets provide – enhanced blood circulation and pain relief. Don’t suffer the pain of infections, droopy lobes or re-piercing any longer!

I guess they'll find some way around it. smilies/sad.gif
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written by BillyJoe, January 31, 2009
Okay, the git in red was a cut and paste from another thread.
It was meant to be the following link:

http://www.centurymail.com.au/...rings.html

.
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written by dr pepper, February 01, 2009
Be careful, Gentlemen. There was a case recently in which a woman found out that her husband was cheating on her. So she pride open the case of his Sex Magnet and put it back in upside down, thus reversing the effect.
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