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Receivership for Aus Power Balance Distributor

Whoops! The awesome people who sell those rubber bands that make you able to run and jump and fly and surf good couldn’t produce scientific evidence to show they actually work. Which is about as surprising as the lack of companies willing to back an event at G-Land. The biz was placed into receivership today, attributed […]

news // Feb 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Whoops! The awesome people who sell those rubber bands that make you able to run and jump and fly and surf good couldn’t produce scientific evidence to show they actually work. Which is about as surprising as the lack of companies willing to back an event at G-Land.

The biz was placed into receivership today, attributed to sales evaporating ever since those pesky up-starts at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission intervened. The ACCC had taken special offence to PB’s line, “performance technology” and ordered the company to quit claiming the bracelets improved balance, strength and flexibility. They also forced PB to admit they hadn’t done “double blind” scientific testing to support their claims.

Tom O’Dowd, who owned Power Balance Australia, used the word ‘naive’ to describe himself to SmartCompany, which is in fact the largest understatement in the history of the world. Naive indeed, Tom. Naive, as he says, in thinking that the biz wouldn’t be subject to laws surrounding the regulation of health products. Especially naive in that respect, considering the product was sold in not just sports stores, but also pharmacies. Naive in thinking that a ruse like PB’s could actually have longevity. Naive in thinking he could come outta this debt-free, which the company hasn’t. PB Aus’s collapse leaves the dotted line blank on a cheque to the tune of $800k. “To be in a situation where I can’t pay bills and the company can’t pay its bills has left me devastated,” Tom told SmartCompany. “We can’t continue with what the business has sustained since the undertaking was given to the ACCC. The problem has been that the sales have totally evaporated.”

Once the ACCC had threatened any retailers stocking the “proven technology”-branded products with $10k fines, Aus’s fleeting romance with PB went south. Even after the product was re-branded, no retailer wanted a piece of the sour pie. In the end, it was ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel who said all that needs to be heard on Power Balance: “Consumers should be wary of other similar products on the market that make unsubstantiated claims, when they may be no more beneficial than a rubber band.” – Elliot Struck

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