Health claims

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We advise consumers to be cautious of health-related products and treatments that have no proven benefits.

Such products and services are often expensive and sold online, with promises of quick cures and easy solutions for a variety of health and lifestyle issues.

These claims are often false and misleading and provide no benefit to consumers. Some products and services may even pose serious health risks.

When looking to buy health-related products or services, consumers should:

  • be alert to unrealistic and unproven claims - if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  • research the product or service and supplier via independent sources, use a qualified medical practitioner and always get a second opinion
  • read contracts carefully and get independent advice. Consumers should not sign any documents until they understand what they are agreeing to, how costs are calculated, the total that they will pay and ways to cancel the contract
  • ensure any promises made about the effectiveness and money-back guarantees are in writing and that they have a copy. Keep a record of any claims made on the website or in advertising material.

Health claims and the Australian Consumer Law

Businesses selling health-related products and services must not make misleading or unsubstantiated claims about the goods or services they provide.

They may face penalties under the Australian Consumer Law (Victoria) if they do.

As a regulator of this law, Consumer Affairs Victoria can investigate conduct such as:

  • misrepresentations
  • misleading and deceptive conduct about necessity of a treatment or product and the expected health benefit
  • other consumer issues such as refunds and non-delivery of product and services.

We do not investigate matters that are dealt with by other regulators, such as the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

For more information, see Misleading or deceptive conduct.