A federal lawsuit was filed against Power Balance and its owners alleging that the defendants falsely marketed their bracelets, wristbands, pendants, and other accessories that claim to give wearers physiological benefits like improved balance, strength, and flexibility.
The suit estimated that more than three million American consumers purchased the products over the last four years, including celebrities like Robert De Niro and athletes like Shaquille O’Neal and Lamar Odom.
Power Balance sells a variety of accessories – including pendants, wristbands and the most popular item, bracelets – that are worn sitting close to the body, so that wearers can receive physiological benefits from the “Mylar Holograms” contained inside the products, according to the company. The company asserts that the hologram reacts with the body’s natural energy flow yielding benefits like improved balance, strength, and flexibility, making claims like “Power Balance holograms are designed to work with your body’s natural energy field,” “Use of the Power Balance results in lots of endurance and stamina,” and “Power Balance holograms are embedded with frequencies that react positively with your body’s natural energy field to improve balance, strength and flexibility.”
According to the complaint, the company’s claims are false, misleading and completely baseless. The complaint noted a recent investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which resulted in an admission that the company has “no credible scientific evidence that supports our claims,” as well as a fine levied by the Italian consumer protection agency for 350,000 euros for unsubstantiated claims.
To read the complaint in Batungbacal v. Power Balance, click here.
Why it matters: Despite the Australian investigation, the Italian fine, and the class action suit, the company said it plans to defend itself and its products. “Contrary to recent assertions in the Australian press, Power Balance has made no claims that our product does not perform. This is simply untrue. Apparently, some previous claims in our marketing ads in Australia were not up to ACCC standards. Changes were voluntarily made immediately, approved and the issues were believed to have been resolved. We were obviously surprised to see the recent press coming out of Australia followed by a class action lawsuit here in the United States,” the company said in a statement. “Power Balance stands by our products.”