Q-Ray Ionized Nut Kick
Here's a happy story for those of you who like to see woo peddlers get kicked in the proverbial nuts: Q-Ray makers ordered to pay $16M in refunds to consumers (For those of you unfamiliar with the product, the damn thing is a just a metal bracelet with a gap and two little knobby things on each end.)
A US court has upheld a 2006 ruling that says the makers of the Q-Ray "Ionized" Bracelet (of latenight infomercial fame) have to surrender $16 million in profits, to be paid out to duped consumers for false advertising, as well as refunding up to $87 million to elligible customers seeking refunds. The best thing about the ruling was this statement from judge Frank Easterbrook:
Defendants might as well have said: Beneficent creatures from the 17th dimension use this bracelet as a beacon to locate people who need pain relief and whisk them off to their home world every night to provide help in ways unknown to our science.How awesome is that comment?
From the beginning of the company in 1996 until the original 2006 court decision, Q-Ray has used terms like "ionized," "natural pain relief," "enhancing the flow of bio-energy" via "Q-Rays," and featured testimonials of how the product has enhanced the lives of their owners. Since that decision, the company has toned-down the claims a bit. On the US website, you'll no longer see any claims about it doing anything. On the Canadian website, though, you'll still see claims about "Balancing your bio-energy" and even the statement
Like acupuncture, yoga and tai-chi, the Q-Ray Bracelet is based on traditional Oriental medicine. The exclusive process that goes into every Q-Ray is designed to balance the negative and positive energy forces in your body to achieve a state of “Chi,” where you will feel and perform at your best.Just in case you were wondering, according to CBC's Marketplace program, based on electron microscopy, in no way can the bracelet be considered "ionized." It's just a plain metal bracelet.
Now, the cost of Q-Ray bracelets ranges from $65 to $300, with an average one around $200. How many idiots (or frantically desperate people) are there in the world that they could sell (87000000/200 =) 435000 of the stupid things? It's depressing, really. The sad thing about the ruling is that the duped consumers get their money back - no doubt to spend on some other quackery. So many better things can be done with the $16 million profits and up to $87 million in refunds. Like giving it to me ;-)