Tuesday, 7 September 2010

101 Amazonians

An observant chum of mine recently spotted an interesting page on Amazon's UK website. The page in question was - shall we say - somewhat problematic.

A little more scratching around revealed dozens more pages that were similarly problematic.

(Image credit - scan from Amazon UK website)

Hulda Regehr Clark, if you didn't already know, was a quack medicine saleswoman who fled the US after a string of difficulties with the authorities.

Despite claiming to have discovered "The Cure For All Cancers", in 2009 she died from multiple myeloma - a form of cancer.

The fact that Amazon stock the book is not particularly noteworthy. (I have always been an advocate of absolute freedom of expression.)

My complaint concerns not the book itself, but the sales pitch that Amazon are using to flog it.

(Image credit - actual Amazon UK product description)

Naturally, Amazon had nothing to do with writing the text - most likely they scanned it from the back of the book - but that won't be much of a defence in the event of a breach of the Cancer Act 1939.

The page promoting Hulda's classic tome isn't the only problematic entry on Amazon's website. Here is one advertising a book by that effluent magical finger woman, Vianna Stibal.

(Image credit - actual Amazon UK product description)

And here's another promoting a book from a pillar of the mainstream medical establishment, one Patrick Holford!

(Image credit - actual Amazon UK product description)

In total I found a staggering one hundred and one advertisements on Amazon UK's website which, I rather suspect, will be of interest to Trading Standards. (Not all of them are as outrageous as the three examples above, but they all pages which contain cancer cure claims of one form or another - some of which were submitted as reader reviews.)

Give Amazon's deserved reputation as a responsible bookseller, I do hope the material will be removed very quickly. But, just in case, a complaint has been also been lodged with the ASA. The entire list can be seen here.

(Grateful thanks to the aforementioned chum who generously helped me put the complaint together, and spotted the adverts in the first place.

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