A proposed class action lawsuit claims Ecoco, Inc. intentionally misbranded its Eco Style Professional Styling Gels as “no flake” despite the fact that the products are known to cause flaking.
According to the case, the defendant includes in its “no flake” products the chemical N-vinyl-2-pyrrolidone (PVP), which is known to cause flaking. The suit claims that alternatives to PVP that do not cause this issue are widely available and that a reasonable consumer would expect a purportedly flake-free product to contain such ingredients in place of PVP. From the case:
“A reasonable consumer would expect a product representing that it does not cause flaking to be using the latest, most advanced available ingredients conducive to this end, as opposed to the 1950s-era PVP ingredient known to cause flaking.”
Although the defendant reportedly lists PVP on the ingredient lists of the products in question, the complaint argues that this was not enough to warn proposed class members about the potential for flakes because the average consumer cannot be expected to know the properties of the chemical. As the case tells it, simply listing a problematic ingredient falls short when it comes to informing consumers about the potential for flaking and does nothing to remedy the defendant’s misrepresentations. More from the lawsuit:
“The ingredients list cannot cure defendant’s deceptive representation that the products produce no flakes, since reasonable consumers are not cosmetic chemists or hairstylists with specialized knowledge of PVP’s tendency to cause flaking.”
According to the complaint, consumers rely heavily upon the labeling of Ecoco’s products when making purchases. In fact, the lead plaintiff claims she bought the product specifically because of the no-flake guarantee and wouldn’t have done so – or wouldn’t have paid as much – had she known they caused flaking.
The products named in the suit include:
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel with Coconut Oil;
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel with Olive Oil;
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel with Argan;
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel Krystal;
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel with Black Castor & Flaxseed Oil;
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel with Olive Oil & Shea Butter, Black Castor oil & Flaxseed;
Eco Style Professional Styling Gel Curl & Wave; and
Any other Eco Style Professional Styling Gel that has a “no flake” representation on the label but contains PVP.
The case claims that Ecoco was aware that customers would gravitate toward products that do not cause flaking and, as a result, intentionally and falsely labeled its Eco Style Professional Styling Gels as “flake free” in order to increase sales. This practice amounts to false advertising and violates the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act, as well as the consumer laws of New York, 49 other states and the District of Colombia, according to the case.