Outlandish claims of being able to “cure” skin cancer have seen a Queensland business fined after it was investigated by the state’s Office of Fair Trading.
OFT took action after looking into the claims of Sun Beef Pty Ltd, trading as SunUltima, that its herbal product could cure skin cancer. It followed a consumer complaint that the 5ml SunUltima Skin Cancer Cure, being sold for $560, was being marketed as a “natural herbal-derived skin cancer cure”.
The agency found SunUltima’s website also featured three testimonials, pertaining to be customers who had been cured of their cancers by using the product.
Prior to taking legal action, OFT issued a formal request that SunUltima provide information to substantiate its claims, including by providing the identities of the three people to whom the testimonials were attributed.
The business failed to comply with this request, and so the matter was taken to court.
The Brisbane Magistrate’s Court found SunUltima guilty of making misleading and unsubstantiated claims, and issued it with a $10,000 fine plus costs.
“Businesses must ensure they are aware of their Australian Consumer Law obligations and aren’t misrepresenting their products to consumers,” said OFT’s executive director, Brian Bauer.
“A failure to follow these obligations will result in enforcement action.”
Mr Bauer added: “It is particularly despicable when a business preys on desperate and vulnerable consumers. The OFT will investigate and bring matters like this before the courts.”
As of the 15 June 2018, SunUltima’s website was blank apart from the firm’s logo. However archived leaflets found on the web suggest that “a diagnosed 5mm skin cancer needs only two or three drops of SunUltima applied as a single treatment as a general rule to rid the malignancy.”
“In the case of the skin cancers being larger than 5mm, a second smear application should be applied,” it reads.