Friday, 20 Feb, 2009 Offbeat

Thousands Fall for Weight-loss Chocolate Scam


Losing weight with the help of chocolate may sound incredible and miraculous in a way. However, recently it was revealed that it is not worth spending money on the phenomenal chocolate that "burns calories", since the product did not have any ingredients that could prove its developer's claims, says Office of Fair Trading.

It is worth mentioning that the chocolate, called Slim-Choc, was marketed in the UK and due to the ads, saying that it can help lose weight, the product instantly became popular. Shortly after that the consumer watchdog announced about the scam and data gathered from people who bought the product showed that 78 percent of those who fell for it were women. However, there were also a lot of men who bought the product, considering that it might help cure them from impotence and hair loss.

According to OFT Director of Consumer Protection, Mike Haley, such kind of miracle health scams are aimed towards overweight consumers who are desperate to lose weight. "The products are often worthless and can even be dangerous with untested and potentially harmful ingredients," he added.

On February 19, the OFT alerted consumers about the Slim-Choc ads, which featured false information on the product. The adverts were included in junk mail that was sent to thousands of homes throughout the UK.

According to the manufacturer of the chocolate, Slim-Choc can help a person lose 20lb in 20 days, without the need to exercise or stay on a specific diet. The ads stated that Slim-Chop represented a "brand new revolutionary cure for the obese and overweight." It also said that the product was "the first and only chocolate that burns off fat and cellulite". The victims of the scam became thousands of people who paid GBP37 (about $46.6) for a 40-day supply.

Alice Tuff, of the Sense About Science charity, said: "The emotional and financial costs for the people who get drawn in can be huge and it is vital that we keep promoting public vigilance in tackling this serious problem."

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