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Deanery comes under Commerce Commission scrutiny


The Deanery comes under Commerce Commission scrutiny

Christchurch-based alcoholic treatment centre, The Deanery, has admitted that its advertising of an "overall success rate of 88%" was liable to mislead the public, and has agreed to remove all references to the claim from its website and publications.

A Commerce Commission investigation revealed that The Deanery's claim of an 88% success rate was made on its website, in numerous letters to MPs and Government officials, in a media release, in brochures sent to prospective clients and in advertising leaflets faxed to doctors.

The claim was based on figures compiled in-house by Deanery staff as to whether clients who had participated in the programme were sober at the time of the 'survey'. The survey lacked any statistical or scientific methodology and had not been independently verified. In addition, the Deanery's own most recent survey pointed to less favourable results.

Commerce Commission Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said the signed settlement with The Deanery included undertakings to immediately remove all references to the 88% rate claim and to take all reasonable steps to ensure it did not make representations that were liable to mislead the public as to the quality and success of the Deanery's programme.

"People who have drug and alcohol problems are very vulnerable and it's important they are able to make decisions on treatments based on accurate information," she said.

"The Commission will follow up on the settlement, and if we find the Deanery has breached the Fair Trading Act, or not adhered to the undertakings, we will take further action."

Background The Deanery is an alcoholic treatment centre, operating since December 1999 from its Christchurch premises. The Deanery runs a four-day in-patient programme, which is followed by an ongoing out-patient programme that includes prescription of the drug Antabuse. Clients are almost exclusively private, paying $5,500 for the service.

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