ASA Adjudication on insolesbyhappyfeet.co.uk
29 August 2012
Internet (on own site)
Health and beauty
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A website advertising Happy Feet massaging insoles, www.insolesbyhappyfeet.co.uk, stated "Brand NEW to the UK, Happy Feet Massaging insoles are a unique kind of insole
CLINICALLY PROVEN to relieve pain and discomfort in the feet, legs and lower back. As you Wear Happy Feet Insoles, their revolutionary design massages your foot with every step, CLINICALLY PROVEN to increase circulation by up to 115%". on the home page. An image was included, which showed the bones of a foot with various conditions highlighted, one of which was "Morton's Neuroma".
A web page headed "Morton's Neuroma" stated "Morton's Neuroma is an inflammation of the Plantar Nerve that runs between the Metatarsal Bones of the 3rd and 4th toes. This inflammation is normally due to the wearing of tight shoes which cause the Metatarsal bones to rub on the Plantar Nerve. Why Happy Feet Massaging Insoles ... The constant massage of Happy Feet Therapeutic Massaging Insoles attacks and eliminates the pain from Morton's Neuroma in 2 ways. The massage lifts and separates the Metatarsal bones keeping them from rubbing the Plantar Nerve. The dramatic increase in Circulation, recently proven in a Clinical Study (link) to be as much as 115%, eliminates the inflammation that causes the pain. Naturally, with no outside drugs or stimulation. As always with your purchase of Happy Feet Massaging Insoles the "Pain Leaves or your Money Returns!"
The complainant, a foot health practitioner, challenged whether the following claims were misleading and could be substantiated:
1. "CLINICALLY PROVEN to increase circulation by up to 115%"; and
2. "The constant massage of Happy Feet Therapeutic Massaging Insoles attacks and eliminates the pain from Morton's Neuroma in 2 ways".
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. & 2. insolesbyhappyfeet.co.uk said they had sourced the text on their website from other websites advertising the product. They did not believe the insoles were CE-marked medical devices. They said they were willing to make changes to their website to ensure it complied with the CAP Code.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA considered that claims to increase circulation and treat Morton's neuroma were medical claims. The CAP Code stated that medical claims could only be made for a product if it was CE-marked as a medical device. Because the insoles were not a registered medical device, and medical claims were being made, we concluded that website breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 12.1 (Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told insolesbyhappyfeet.co.uk not to make medical claims for their products unless they were registered medical devices and they held robust efficacy evidence.