Carte Blanche must apologise

2012-04-19 11:44
Thinus Ferreira
Cape Town – Investigative magazine show Carte Blanche will have to apologise on-air for a story after the Broadcasting Complaints Commission of South Africa (BCCSA) found that they "mischaracterised" a device from Electro Smart "as a timer", which is actually sold as an energy savings device.

According to the BCCSA, "a clear statement must be broadcast to the Carte Blanche audience that what they had viewed did not give a balanced picture of the situation".

The BCCSA was asked to, but decided not to impose a fine for the insert which was shown on 14 August 2011 on M-Net. Carte Blanche is a Combined Artists production.

"The respondent [Carte Blanche] must, without comment, and during the first five minutes of the first or the second programme after the issue of this order, broadcast the following statement," said the BCCSA in its findings of the case.

"The Broadcasting Complaints Commission has directed M-Net to broadcast the following statement during the programme:

"In its 2011 insert on the Electro Smart apparatus, which is sold as an electricity saver, Carte Blanche contravened the Broadcasting Code in the following aspects:

1. Carte Blanche failed to obtain available evidence from an expert, which had been provided by Electro Smart's distributors, which would have confirmed the company's assertion that the apparatus does save electricity;

2. Carte Blanche failed to inform viewers fully that a device almost identical to the Electro Smart apparatus had been approved in 1986 by the SABS as an electricity saver;

3. And lastly; a statement was made in the insert that Electro Smart agreements after 2005 were null and void because they violated the National Credit Act, yet the distributor was not invited to comment on this statement. Had Carte Blanche done so, the distributor would have indicated that the National Credit Act, in his view, was not applicable to the contracts and that the contracts were, indeed, valid."

UPDATE: Carte Blanche has indicated that the show will be appealing the decision from the BCCSA and that no apology will be happening, awaiting the appeal of the BCCSA judgement.

The show's legal representation told Channel24 that "Carte Blanche will be bringing an application for leave to appeal the judgement. In the meantime, the sanction has been suspended."


  • John - 2012-04-19 12:10

    Come on a switch is then also a electricity saver and not a switch. In essence it is just a timer and very expensive one as well. A normal timer can be bought for a lot less. They also used bully tactics to get you to buy their product. I know I have one that did not really save me anything and back then I was too stupid to cancel the sale after their bullying.

      TSR01 - 2012-04-19 13:49

      It causes damages too: Does not save anything: And they have a horrible attitude (read Supplier's response): Its a scam! Electro Fart - stealing money from SA consumers since their "company" opened.

  • Marko - 2012-04-19 12:11

    The device still doesn't work.

  • James - 2012-04-19 12:29

    What a crock of... But I hope Carte Blanche does the apology and then a well researched follow-up article with all the correct facts, including some of the "sheeple" who actually bought this "gadget".

  • Lowella - 2012-04-19 12:58

    Carte Blanche was acting on behalf of the public who has been conned over the years by the company who is misrepresenting a product. It is sad to see these people are still going to get away with the con. Then again, even though Carte Blanche has to apologize… The public is already aware of the scam and Carte Blanche has more creditability than a small ‘timer’.

  • nieldevilliers - 2012-04-19 13:36

    just search for electro smart on hellopeter. besides not finding one positive comment, the arrogant responses on there amaze me

  • jpstrauss - 2012-04-19 13:56

    Well, it's not strictly a timer, it's more of a device that does things at pre-set times based on user input. Oh wait, that's what a timer does. Unless they want to claim it's a task scheduler.

  • Danie - 2012-04-19 14:09

    The BCCSA really screwed the pooch on this one. They should in fact be nailing ElektroSmart for false advertising. That device is just a timer, and NOT an energy saver. Now they're crying foul due to technicalities of protocol? With the pricetag of that useless thing they should be charged with extortion too - I'd feel raped if I fell for that scam. I've seen 99% complaints about this on the 'net, haven't found any info that can prove that that's an energy-savings device. It's all BS!

  • Dave - 2012-04-19 14:53

    doesn't matter if Carte Blanche apologise or not, take all the ball away its still a timer! fact !!!

  • dave.mackie - 2012-04-19 15:02

    It is very telling that this companies threatens to sue it's own customers for saying the product doesn't work. I hope Carte Blanche gets this verdict overturned, and if not, should do a follow-up show with all the facts. Companies like this they prey on the vulnerable make me sick.

  • Phillys - 2012-04-19 16:40

    Please all of you , go to the Hellopeter website and read what these arse*oles from Electro Smart say to customers that complain!!! I don't think i have ever seen such disgraceful handling of complaints in my life!! In two of the complaints, the Electro arsewipes reply by saying that they see the client has a bad payment track record anyway!!!!This is soooo libelous, its not funny!!!

  • Dave - 2012-04-19 23:16

    Carte Blanche, Apologise as requested, THEN BLAST THE SCAMMERS!! MAKE SURE YOUR CASE IS WATERTIGHT. Good luck Dave

  • Glob - 2012-04-26 16:33

    You are entitled to your opinion as we are entitled to the facts and not just an opinion. It is clear to see Carte Blanche was found guilty that the product is not a timer. Fact: One cannot get world patency on a timer, the patency was granted as an energy savings device. We invite you to come to our offices once and for all where we will prove to you why it is clearly not a timer. Carte Blanche was taken before the highly educated BCCSA, two people are even qualified professors, who found Carte Blanche guilty of contravening the BCCSA. Carte Blanch wasted no expense to hire the most expensive law firm, Webber Wentzel, and having 4 legal attorneys/advocates representing them – the best money can buy. The facts were brought to the table and we have proved beyond all doubt that Carte Blanche’s viewership works on sensationalism. For the record, this is not the first time Carte Blanche was found guilty of contravening the BCCSA but it was always kept under wraps. Just read where Carte Blanche was sued for R47000000 by Gold Reef City and then judge for yourself.

  • Glob - 2012-04-26 16:33

    Any person who has a legitimate complaint would naturally call the customer service department for free assistance. Obviously no call was made. If you have a genuine complaint, please phone the customer service number on your service agreement where your matter will be resolved.

  • Glob - 2012-04-26 16:34

    If the independent distributors’ ninja outfits intimidate you, we will request they change their dress code. On a serious note, the consumer is well protected under the consumer protection act. Every independent distributor receives 5 days training on product knowledge and business skills to provide the best possible service. If any independent distributor is found to operate unscrupulously, their agreement will be terminated immediately.

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-04-27 22:15

    I agree with most of the comments below.

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