Groupon caught promoting snake oil

Well, that’s hardly news, is it?

As we’ve already established, Groupon seem to have no scruples when it comes to the promotion of dubious quackery. The only difference here is that the miracle product apparently comes from an actual snake.

I refer to this, the  seventeenth adjudication by the Advertising Standards Authority against Groupon, who appear not to take a blind bit of notice of advertising guidelines. They also have forty-two ‘informally resolved’ complaints, three mail-order cases and seven database cases currently listed on the ASA website. Due to their repeated breaches of the Advertising Code, the ASA even announced on December 2nd 2011 that they are now referring complaints about Groupon ads to the Office of Fair Trading.

However, such referrals only relate to complaints regarding

  • Failure to conduct promotions fairly, such as not making clear significant terms and conditions
  • Failure to provide evidence that offers are available
  • Exaggeration of savings claims

I’m not sure if Groupon are taking steps to tackle those problems, but promotions for dubious health and beauty treatments seem to be continuing unabated.

Since the September 2011 adjudication against Live Blood Analysis claims (discussed here), at least a further three promotions have made similar claims – namely that Live Blood Analysis may be used to detect food allergies and intolerances.

I find this particularly worrying as I know of several people who feel they’ve been ripped off after investing in such deals.

When I wrote to Groupon outlining my concerns, they did not respond.

When I complained to the ASA that Groupon had ignored the Live Blood Analysis adjudication, I received this letter, in addition to emails assuring me that the problem will be addressed.

As it should be. To misquote the ASA – what I believe to be ‘unsustainable’ is the the volume of misleading and unsubstantiated claims made by Groupon.

9 responses to “Groupon caught promoting snake oil

  1. Pingback: Well at least they admit it’s snake oil « Short and Spiky

  2. Pingback: British Airways put snakes on a plane! | Josephine Jones

  3. Aside from being a useless product and ultimately a con, I can’t but ask myself how this product is made. As naive as it may sound, I am also concerned with the snakes’ welfare. Since they’re not cute puppies or smart monkeys, probably they are dealt with in quite an inhumane way (not that puppies or monkeys get off easy, mind you). I would like to watch a documentary on the production of this serum.

  4. Ok. That’s good news. Still, it remains quite the scam. But I guess people are gullible enough to believe it works..

  5. Pingback: The Daily Mail promotes magic underwear! | Josephine Jones

  6. Pingback: Well at least they admit it’s snake oil » Short & Spiky

  7. I like Groupon, they have excellent customer service, they resolved all issues I had concerns with. They aslo help companies to promote themselves and offer people services and goods at affordable prices!

  8. I currently use this produce and I have checked the ingredients. There are no traces of actual snake being used. The main ingredient Syn-ake is completely synthetic, hence the adjusted spelling of the ingredient. It is also suitable for vegetarians.

    I’ve spoken to members at skinChemists who say Syn-ake replicates the effect venom would have. I’ve used it for nearly 3 weeks now as I have really deep lines around my eyes. So far so good, even the other half notices. I guess like all products, results vary per person.

    @Amy, have you tried it?

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