Dead Sea Spa cosmetic products have been banned from a New Zealand mall following a hard-hitting TV program about the tactics used by the Israeli salespeople to sell their goods.
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Dead Sea products are sold from mobile kiosks in malls around the world, typically staffed by young Israelis earning a little money while travelling.
Campbell Live, a public affairs program on New Zealand’s 3TV, reported that the Dead Sea Spa kiosk was removed from the Lynnmall shopping center in Auckland last Wednesday. It quoted the center's owner, Kiwi Income Property Trust, as saying that the company would no longer be allowed to trade in the shopping center.
The company was also kicked out of Palmerston North mall, another property owned by Kiwi Income, according to the stuff.co.nz website.
The TV program focused on an 82-year-old woman who, it said, had been "bullied into buying $5000 worth of cosmetics – mostly wrinkle cream for a range of different skin types."
It accused the Dead Sea Spa staff of keeping the woman at the booth after the mall had closed, making three separate sales totaling more than NZ$3000 and accompanying her to ATMs around the mall to withdraw the cash.
The woman, who was called "T" in the program because she was embarrassed to reveal her identity, spent NZ$2,000 on Dead Sea Spa products on another occasion.
The program described T as "an unwilling victim of a scam that sits front and center in shopping malls right across the country."
In a follow-up article on its website, Campbell Live told of a man with short-term memory loss who was charged more than a dozen times by Dead Sea Spa for a total of NZ$13,000.
According to Campbell Live, "the Dead Sea Spa range is a small kiosk business staffed by youthful, good-looking Israelis selling product from the homeland. "
It added: "Campbell Live wanted to visit the company that sells Dead Sea Spa products, so we went to their head office. But the staff quickly fled, and the door was locked."
According to the TV program, they were unable to get a comment from the business.