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Muscle Marketing USA fined $70,000 for false claim

Muscle Marketing USA fined $70,000 for false claims about sports performance product

Muscle Marketing USA Limited has been fined $70,000 in the Auckland District Court today for breaching the Fair Trading Act in relation to its sports performance enhancing product ATP Advantage Creatine Serum.

In sentencing, Judge Everitt said that Muscle Marketing's claims about its product were so far from actual reality that it was a very bad case of a misleading statement. "The company was highly culpable. On a scale of 1-10 it was 8."

The Commerce Commission investigated claims that Muscle Marketing USA was making false representations in promotional material and labelling regarding the quantity of creatine in its ATP Advantage Creatine Serum product and the benefits that people would get from using it.

Creatine is a nutrient that is synthesised from food by our bodies. It provides the energy muscles need to move and is often used by athletes to improve their sports performance.

Fair Trading Director Deborah Battell said that in the Commission's view, Muscle Marketing USA falsely represented that 5ml of its serum yielded the equivalent of 2500mg of creatine.

"Tests conducted on the serum showed that 5mls of the product contained only around 11.5mg of creatine. This means that on the basis of Muscle Marketing USA's recommended daily dose of 5mls a day, athletes would not be able to obtain the benefits as represented.

"A 150ml bottle of the serum retails for $119.95. This is a significant outlay, particularly when people are paying this price based on misleading representations" Ms Battell said.

"It's another example of a product where consumers are utterly reliant on claims being made by the company because they have no realistic means of checking the actual composition or effectiveness of the product," said Ms Battell.

In sentencing, Judge Everitt commented that people will always have pride in their appearance and are vulnerable to this kind of marketing. The Act is designed to create fair trading and to protect the public from "snake oil people and the like", he said.

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