Thanks to HamiltonHacker for pointing me to a recent CBC [photopress:post.jpg,full,alignright]Marketplace report on the Q-Ray bracelet, which is very popular with golfers in Canada and the U.S.
The report, with Wendy Mesley doing the talking, raises questions about what the Q-Ray actually does vs. what its advertising has suggested it does. In the U.S., the company used to claim the bracelet did remarkable things for joint pain and general wellness. Then the U.S. government (U.S. Federal Trade Commission, specifically) became involved, launching a lawsuit against the firm and finding there was no proof the Q-Ray did anything. The company was ordered to pay $87 million to customers.
More recently the company set up a Canadian office run by the company founder’s son, Charles Park. The report digs into the company claims. Among its paid endorsers is Canadian Golf Hall of Fame member Sandra Post (pictured above, wearing her bracelet). Post, standing on a driving range, gets grilled by Mesley about her involvement with the product, and its claims that it helps pain.
“It is more of a jewelry item for me,” Post says. “I don’t see any harm in it.”
When Mesley pushes her on the matter, especially in relation to the FTC investigation in the U.S., Post gets defensive.
“I can show you the ruling,” Mesley says.
“I know, I understand that’s the case you’re trying to make,” Post says, clearly flustered. “The case I’m trying to make… Wendy, Wendy..”
“It is a court document,” Mesley answers.
“Well fine. I play golf. And besides, the case I’m trying to make to you is that I wear this because I like it as a jewelry item,” Post says, waving her hand at the file Mesley is holding. “Why would I have time to read that?”
Maybe because you’re endorsing it? Maybe because former golf stars should be careful about what they affiliate themselves with?
Post comes across as defensive in the piece, which is pretty damning against Q-Ray. It says Q-Ray used “made up science.” In Canada the company claims not to promote its products in relation to pain, but then CBC catches Park on camera doing just that.
I spoke with Post his morning. She says she didn’t watch the piece — but her husband did. She says she volunteered to speak to the CBC, and that Mesley asked her the same question for a half hour.
“I knew what was coming,” says Post, a former major winner on the LPGA Tour. “You have to understand, for 25 minutes they grill you, over and over with the same questions.”
Did see come across as dismissive? Post says she did — intentionally.
“Am I going to dismiss this? Yes I am,” she says. “It is under appeal in the U.S., but I bet they didn’t say that on the program.
“I’ve always said this is a jewelry item for me. Golfers wear these sorts of things all the time. Every morning I wake up, put on my rings, my watch and my Q-Ray.”
When the bracelets were taken to the University of Toronto to be tested for ionization, the researcher told Marketplace he could probably go to Home Depot and make the same bracelet with “some wire” for a “couple of bucks.” And the company’s founder admits the concept of “ionization” is made up.
In the meantime, the piece cuts back to Post to find out what she’s endorsing.
“I just don’t follow ionization,” she says. “I wear it because it is a jewelry item.”
Checking on the company’s website, you’ll find this:
“I am a firm believer in Q-Ray. I’ve worn them for years and I highly recommend Q-Ray to my family, friends and colleagues.”
LPGA Champions Tour
Now most investigative shows carefully edit their interviews to support their theory. But it is hard to get by Post’s presence in the program.
I don’t know Sandra well — I’ve only met her on a couple of occasions, one being an uncomfortable chance encounter on a staircase at a golf show last spring. I’ve also run into her on the course at the Canadian Women’s Open, and she couldn’t have been more friendly. On the phone today she was more than willing to talk about the show and her decision to be interviewed for it, as opposed to ducking it.
At least it demonstrates she is willing to stand up for a product she endorses.
The complete Marketplace story can be viewed freely online here.