Sports band slammed in Australia

Sydney -The makers of a controversial wristband which claims to boost sporting performance and is used by A-list athletes have been forced to refund Australian customers over "misleading" advertising.

Power Balance, worn by everyone from David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo and Hollywood's Leonardo diCaprio, admitted it had no scientific backing for claims that the band's holograms improve strength, balance and flexibility.

Australia's competition body Wednesday forced the US-based firm to withdraw "misleading advertising claims" and packaging and offer refunds to customers who feel they were duped. The bands have been selling for about $60.

"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," said Australian Competition and Consumer Commission head Graeme Samuel.

Power Balance says its wristbands and pendants, available in dozens of countries worldwide, use holograms to optimise the body's natural energy flow.

The silicone bands have been spotted on a swathe of sports stars including Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Pietersen and Rubens Barrichello, along with celebrities such as Kate Middleton and P Diddy.

The company's Australian branch apologised for the advertising, which included the phrase "Performance Technology", and said its claims stemmed from the testimonials of users.

"In recent advertising we stated that Power Balance products improve strength, balance and flexibility. However, we do not have peer-reviewed, scientific double blind-tested evidence to support this claim," it said.

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