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Danish Publisher to Put an End to Fortune-teller Fraud

09. May 2005

Mailbox Media, publisher of a Danish mail order catalogue distributed nationwide, has now assured the Danish Consumer Ombudsman that no more ads promoting the "famous" fortune-teller Marie France will appear from the catalogue.

Mailbox Media, publisher of a Danish mail order catalogue distributed nationwide, has now assured the Danish Consumer Ombudsman that no more ads promoting the "famous" fortune-teller Marie France will appear from the catalogue.

"Marie France", also known as "Maria Duval", offers consumers free and personal counsel in the form of prophecies and good advice.

Misleading advertising for "Marie France" in the above catalogue from February 2005 prompted the Danish Consumer Ombudsman to contact Mailbox Media. Pursuant to section 16 of the Danish Marketing Practises Act, the company has now signed an undertaking, preventing future promotion of the clairvoyant.

"Marie France", or "Maria Duval", is frequently advertised in local newspapers or mail order catalogues, attracting the reader’s attention to offers that include free and personal advice given by the "famous" clairvoyant. The advertiser is usually based abroad, ie in Switzerland, Germany or France.

The Danish Consumer Ombudsman holds that the ads are misleading and conflict with the principles of good marketing practises, cf. section 1 and 2(1) of the Danish Marketing Practises Act. The ads are designed to convey the impression that the "famous" clairvoyant will provide consumers with personal advice in the form of prophecies. The services thus provided, however, are neither free nor personal; moreover, there is no "Marie France" or "Maria Duval" using her clairvoyant talents to help consumers.

Joint action against commercial fortune-tellers has previously been taken under the auspices of ICPEN-Europe (International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network).

If you have any queries, please contact:

Birgitte Wested, Laywer

Office of the Danish Consumer Ombudsman

Email: bw@fs.dk

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