Scam School shows how EKEN sells their PowerBand

Award-winning magician Brian Brushwood over at ScamSchool shows how the scam works, and uses a “Placebo Band” to demonstrate this exact scam:


So, I’m still disappointed in the current outcome of the EKEN Complaint made earlier to the TGA, and subsequently to the ACCC. I am hoping for a situation where EKEN are forced to acknowledge their bullshit marketing techniques.

ACCC Responds to EKEN Complaint

I’m planning on calling the ACCC on Monday morning to bring the focus towards EKEN’s use of “Applied Kinesiology” to sell their goods.

After receiving the letter I took a look at EKEN’s website, which was recently updated to promote Billy Slaters’ addition to their “Hall of Shame”.

EKEN words their Technology page to make it appear as if they are talking about the properties of the product itself; it’s a poor excuse for what they ARE selling, compared to what they mislead people to believe they are purchasing. The website contains an image with little context and can lead people to the believe that this is how to “test” the effects of the PowerBand.

It explicitly depicts that the EKEN Powerband can, and will affect a persons’ balance through a comparison.

"Balance" with and without the EKEN Powerband

In the second image, the person performing the test will push directly down towards the ground, resulting in the centre of gravity being shifted away from the body, making it harder to withstand pressure applied to the arm.

In the third image, the person performing the test pushes down, but towards the lifted foot. This slight change results in the centre of gravity being shifted TOWARDS the body, thus making it EASIER to withstand pressured applied to the arm.

To me, it seems as though if you’re the tester, you HAVE to be actively scamming the subject. Why does it have to be a conscious act of deception? Because the outcome of the “test” is determined by a deliberate act by the tester; I find it hard to believe anyone could not do this test and “accidentally” come out with negative results without the PowerBand and positive results with the PowerBand every time.

Again, the short of it is that Applied Kinesiology (another pseudo-science) is being re-appropriated for the testing of a person’s balance once wearing the product.

EKEN have videos of this scam being pulled on Athletes, who lap up this “technology” and are astounded by it. EKEN outright exploits these as “testimonials” to their PowerBand’s efficacy.

Therapeutic Merry-Go-Round

Last week the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) knocked back my submission to them about the EKEN PowerBand. (See:

“Thank you for your continued interest in this matter.

We did refer the matter to the TGA (as I advised you previously). The power bands have been assessed by the TGA not to be therapeutic goods. Unless products such as these make claims for therapeutic use, they are not considered by the Complaints Resolution Panel to be within its jurisdiction. For this reason, this complaint will be referred to the ACCC. I will ask the ACCC to keep you informed.”

Having had waited a week with no response so far, I looked in to why PowerBalance was a different story.

It was, and wasn’t.

The TGA said the same thing to Robert Smallwood, who claimed to have submitted a complaint to them about PowerBalance: “Not a therapeutic device”.

Robert wrote to the TGA as part of their Transparency Review:

Robert makes a point that is well-known, especially to those selling bogus products: The TGA fails to enforce its findings against everyone, including “complimentary” and “alternative” practitioners.

I suspect it may be the lack of information on EKEN’s website; PowerBalance were quite specific in their website, but EKEN hides behind the ignorance of its’ customers – preferring to allow them to guess what they do and how they work, rather than to explicitly explain the mechanism.

Subsequently, Dr. Ken Harvey was able to compel the TGA to investigate the claims by PowerBalance, and as a result the complaint was found generally found to be justified.

It was those same justified complaints by Ken Harvey that formed the basis for my own complaint to the TGA about EKEN’s PowerBand. Same claims of Flexibility, Endurance, Balance, and Strength – all bullshit.

So, it’s intriguing to know why the TGA followed through against PowerBalance, but is seemingly trying to keep away from prosecuting EKEN for their therapeutic claims.

So, since I’m waiting for a response from the ACCC, I might take a look at Phiten Australia till then.


By the way — PlaceboBand. Cheaper, and does what it says.
You can go here to buy one for only $2.00 + P&H


SkepticBros PlaceboBand

SkepticBros PlaceboBand

What’s the problem, TGA?

Earlier this week I submitted a complaint about the EKEN PowerBand, a product that is reported to give its users increased Endurance, Balance, Strength, and Flexibility.

To my surprise, I got a reply from the TGACRP that essentially meant that they had no control over them – because the product was not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods.

Oddly enough, they were able to take action against PowerBalance late last year.
So, I responded with some clarification of what was in my complaint (as it appeared the referenced legislation was not investigated sufficiently).

Thank you for your response.

I refer to your E-Mail response to my complaint about the EKEN PowerBand, and the finding that because the product is not on the ARTG it does not fall under the jurisdiction of the CRP.

I refer back to the legislation specified within the complaint, Section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act that prohibits the publications of advertisements for therapeutic goods that are not included in the register.

Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 – Sect 42DL
(1) A person must not publish or broadcast an advertisement about therapeutic goods:
(g) that are not entered in the Register; or

Therefore, according to the Therapeutic Goods Act, does indeed fall within the jurisdiction of the TGACRP.

If you feel I am incorrect in my interpretation of the 42DL(1)(g), please advise on what grounds the TGACRP acknowledged the legitimacy of the complaint about PowerBalance (a similar product in design, claimed mechanism, and claimed benefit) for my reference.

For clear precedence of this legislation in practice, I refer to the recent findings of the TGACRP:

32. Section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act prohibits the publication of advertisements for therapeutic goods that are not included in the Register. The advertiser acknowledged that the wrist band product is not included in the Register and the Panel was of the view that the product was promoted for therapeutic use. The advertisements therefore breached section 42DL(1)(g) of the Act and the Panel found this aspect of the complaint justified.

Please advise me on the outcome of any further inquiry you may make.


Bayani Mills

So, hopefully this time we’ll make some headway on having this product removed.

I eagerly await.

The impact of an NBN on an ETS

Is there more to the National Broad Band (NBN ) than than just all the hoopla over high speed movie downloads?? I suspect that maybe there is. Check out Smart Grids Australia “…. Smart Wired Consortium a broad based, home connectivity industry body, with members including FOXTEL and Telstra Smart Community, amongst others, have warned that Australian homes run the risk of missing out on the optic fibre revolution, and calling for agreed technology standards for new and existing homes. The Consortium is launching a new Code of Practice and a number of related Handbooks on home technology. The Code of Practice sets out the basic standards homes will need to ensure they get reliable and guaranteed entertainment, security, energy management , communication and automation services, and has been developed as an open, independent platform. A couple odf the policy statements give a bit a clue. Continue reading →

Costing a National Broadband Network

For a long time now the ALP has pushed their multi-billion dollar broadband network ever since it was announced by their previous leader, Kevin Rudd.

The $43bn investment seems pretty impressive, but if you look past the fortune cookie price tag, things just don’t add up.

After pondering how much value we’d get for it, I found some numbers to crunch:

Last I read, Australia had about 154,000,000km of copper wire.

This was from a Telstra Source in May, 2010.

The ALP has $43,000,000,000 outlined to spend in making 98% of Australia FTTN (Fibre To The Node); so this would mean that the projected cost is about 0.27c a meter to install; about $279 a kilometer.

But let’s look at the prices they are looking at. In 2007, Telstra was paying it contractors the below amounts to undertake the following services:

# Open trench and laying 100mm conduit – $80 per metre
# Boring 100mm conduit – $50 per metre
# Pits for hauling approx every couple of hundred metres & every change of direction – $250 – $700
# Fibre – $3 – $10 per metre
# Rod, rope & haul fibre approx $8 – $15 per metre
# Re-instatement of concrete/bitumen/pavers – $30 – $60 per m2

The cable alone costs $3,000-10,000 a kilometer.

Simple Question:
Does that seem like $279 a km to you?

Sanely Seeking Asylum

I was hoping to have this post completed swiftly – but; abandoned a quick completion because just after PM Julia Gillard announced talks with East Timor and Indonesia; both countries spat back that no discussions had been opened regarding Asylum Seekers.

Since then, the Liberal Leader, Tony Abbott has met with the President of Naruu. The leader of the country where Australia has spent money to open the same facility the ALP is trying to open in East Timor, a country that doesn’t want it.

The Liberals have even had their Minister fly to Naruu to speak to the opposition leader to confirm their bipartisan support for the Naruu processing facility to be reopened – a facility that allowed it’s detainees to roam the entire island.

Spill on Aisle 3!

Last night PM Kevin Rudd confirmed the breaking news that there was a spill from within the Labor Party.

The party’s Right faction had swung to support Julia Gillard for PM, regardless of her reluctance to take-up the position.

During his speech, Rudd’s first two sentence’s was the crux of the announcement before he launched in to a self-promotion campaign – proclaiming he was elected by “the people” to do a job.

He should be reminded that no one but the Electorate of Griffith elected him, and it was the Party that elected him to be the jockey for the Labor party.

In a strange show of support, the Right is backing someone who is a socialist with historical and recent affiliations to Communist Groups.

With that, WHEN Gillard is elected – and it’s almost a certainty, I foresee Labor taking a more Active approach to it’s failed policies, and a more conservative approach to their policies.

They’ll be going in to Damage Control for the party as they drop the weight around their neck, that is Kevin Rudd.

Rudd has micro-managed failed policy after policy.

About the only positive thing from his reign has been the injection of money Pensioners have received – yet is set to be stripped from them via high grocery costs, increases in electricity costs – and that is before taking into account the ETS that was being rammed down our throats – and was still being touted as being the ONLY way to reduce emissions in Australia.

For Deputy Red, her role in the management and implementation of these failed policies need to be closely scrutinized.

Was she following Rudd’s orders, or was she the one in charge and running things at home while Rudd was away on his oversea junkets?

Issues with the BER are still to be resolved – MONTHS after rorts by Builders and the Large Construction companies over-charging were brought to her attention.

Initially there was an out right denial f any sort of issue, but with millions in blowouts – it’s hard to cover up.

One of the key things that irk me is the feminist ideology, who simply care not about the abilities of Gillard, but will support her only on the basis of her having a Vagina.

It’s absolutely ridiculous.

So, will the rolling of Rudd usher in a new style of government, or will it just be a matter of “Same horse, Different Jockey”?

We’ll find out later today.

Action vs an ETS

So, for the last few months there has been much debate over the implementation of an (Emissions Trading Scheme) ETS. With the Labor Government recently shelving the issue till 2013, there has been a lot of backlash about the program’s delay. BUT – The problem with this whilst many people believe that action needs to be taken on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) – The majority of the public are unaware of the what an ETS would actually entail, and it’s consequences – And apparently, so is the current government.

The title of this blog was Action versus an ETS, so why is it that I am fighting for what I call ‘Action’ over something that hasn’t been created yet?

The ETS has some set points of creation about it – and even on those issues alone, it is not in the interest of being environmentally responsible.

Regardless of the Labor Government, and Greens’ hype about how Australia must ‘Act Now’ – A more apt call for action should be about moving forward with practical solutions that directly affect the way we live. We shouldn’t have to fork out more money as Taxes to supplement the Buying of Carbon Credits.

Now, I will make my personal stance on AGW clear – I acknowledge that Climate Change is factual. I however, am skeptical that current change in climate is significantly caused by Human interference. But, more on that later – because the science being used to push for the ETS doesn’t even stack up if the ETS is brought in, and that’s a whole other Post.

What does an ETS comprise of?

The ETS is essentially, an economy based on the trading of “permits” to facility what would become the companies’ legal ability pollute. These permits are sold by Carbon Traders. These traders capture Carbon, and thereby offset the emmissions of the entity purchasing the created “Carbon Credits”.

Australia’s ETS has been deemed to operate under a ‘Cap and Trade’ scheme, in which an overall cap is determined, and any extra emissions is then traded on the Carbon Market. The Cap & Trade scheme also includes all companies – Coal-Fired Energy Companies being one of, if not – the largest creators of Carbon Emissions, will be a large BUYER of these Carbon Credits. “So?” You may ask.

The problem is that it is widely acknowledged, but under reported that prices for all goods and services will rise – significantly, especially for the transport and energy sectors. To “solve this” the Labor Government has said they will provide Cash & Offsets. This makes the additional cost of doing business now a Taxpayer issue, as well as the consumers’ issue.

Let’s take a look at Victoria quickly on this. One company uses 25% of all the power consumption in the state. That’s right, One. Who’s going to be subsidising those costs? The taxpayer. But what about the costs that aren’t subsidised? That’s right, the consumer. Both the same person.

I will point out here, that currently – there is widespread fraud in the Chicago Carbon Exchange. Numerous companies have been found to have issued Carbon Certificates on false information. For instance, they sell a Certificate for 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – But don’t plant trees with the money. Thus, the carbon use by the buying entities is not offset – at all.

So, what’s my push?

We already have many government rebates that have been started, and failed. The Federal Government enacted schemes that would have been excellent if managed better – The Home Insulation Scheme, Green Loans, and the Solar Hot Water Rebate – all great. The problem was execution.

Solar Powered Hot Water Systems was a great boost to small, local businesses. It boosted Australian Manufacturing, and it was a push for Australian Engineering in those relevant fields. Having this technology in every applicable household would significantly reduce the Load on the Electrical Grid and on our wallets. And to think – this was stopped because it was “too successful”! It should have been made Mandatory for all new dwellings, to ensure the sector which was significantly grown, could continue to prosper!

Green Loans allowed individuals access to interest free loans of up to AUD$10,000 over 4 years for particular environmental products and services. Solar Panels installed under this program would produce around 20% of an Average homes’ power use; for those with the money to spend – Investing 10,000 of their own would have seen 40% of their power usage essentially pre-paid for the next 25 years (General Warranty and expected Life period).

And.. well, the Home Insulation Scheme – … Oh god. Where do I begin. There are many things that could have been altered to make this scheme successful, and safer. Numerous rorts, etc.

There are always alternative Energy Sources, numerous ways we can reduce emissions – and if the current government was at all as serious as it says it was about the Environment, we’d have more Nuclear Power Plants to reduce those emissions. We’ve come a far way from Chernobyl; Power Plants are far safer now, and more efficient too.

Revisiting these plans, with refinements in execution would do far more good for Australia than investing millions of dollars into “creating” an economy on which to trade “permits to pollute.

It is only through actually acting on Environmental Issues, not implementing crafty ways of taxing Australians – can we change our emissions output, without having to live in caves.