A proposed class action claims Walmart has falsely and deceptively advertised its Equate-brand of “oil-free” cosmetic products in that the items, in fact, contain oil.
According to the 18-page lawsuit out of New York federal court, Walmart charges a premium for its Equate Beauty Oil-Free Facial Moisturizer, Oil-Free Acne Wash, Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover and Oil-Free Sunscreen Stick products based on representations that the cosmetics do not contain oil, which the suit notes can clog pores, cause breakouts or make a user’s skin visibly oily.
Despite Walmart’s representations, however, each of the products allegedly contains one or more oils, including glycine soja (soybean) sterols, dimethicone, cocamidopropyl betaine, cyclopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxane and tocopheryl acetate.
“All of the Oil-Free Products contain oils, but Defendant intentionally advertises and labels the Oil-Free Products as ‘oil-free,’” the complaint charges.
Per the lawsuit, consumers would be unable to determine that Walmart’s Equate products contain oils “absent an advanced understanding of chemistry,” and reasonably expect based on the retailer’s representations that the items would not contain oil.
“Nowhere on the Oil-Free Product packaging does Defendant inform consumers that the Oil-Free Products contain oil,” the lawsuit relays.
Walmart, on the other hand, “knew or should have known” that the purportedly oil-free products contain oil given the retail giant employs professional chemists to devise the cosmetics’ chemical formulas, the suit attests. Upon information and belief, the lawsuit says, Walmart knew its Equate Oil-Free products contained oil but chose to falsely advertise them as oil-free “because [the defendant] did not believe their customers would know the difference.”
The lawsuit contends that consumers would not have purchased the Equate Oil-Free products had Walmart not made “the false, misleading, and deceptive representations and/or omissions alleged herein.”
The case looks to cover anyone who purchased any of the Equate products alleged to have been falsely advertised as “oil-free” during the applicable statute of limitations, with a proposed “subclass” of New York residents who did also so.
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