L’Occitane Lotion Containers Are More Than Half Empty, Class Action Says
Reyes v. L'Occitane Inc. et al.
Filed: February 2, 2023 ◆§ 3:23-cv-00203
A class action claims certain L’Occitane beauty products are unlawfully packaged with a significant amount of non-functional empty space, known as “slack-fill.”
California Business and Professions Code California Unfair Competition Law California Consumers Legal Remedies Act
A proposed class action claims certain L’Occitane beauty products are unlawfully packaged with a significant amount of non-functional empty space, known as “slack-fill.”
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The 18-page case alleges L’Occitane has engaged in an illegal “slack-fill scheme” whereby the beauty brand underfills all variations of its products sold in opaque packaging “for no lawful reason.” Per the suit, unsuspecting consumers have no way of knowing that the containers are nearly 50 percent empty, especially since the packaging lacks a visible fill line.
The complaint contends that L’Occitane’s deceptive marketing leads reasonable consumers to expect that the amount of product they will receive is equivalent to its container size. In reality, consumers receive nearly half as much product as what the size of the container represents, the case alleges.
The plaintiff, a California consumer, says she would not have bought the company’s 6.9-ounce Ultra Rich Body Cream for Dry and Sensitive Skin lotion, or would have paid less for it, had she known the container housed significantly less product than she was led to believe.
Moreover, the case argues that “[t]he other information that Defendant provides about the quantity of lotion on the labels of the Product,” such as net weight and serving size, “does not enable reasonable consumers to form any meaningful understanding about how to gauge the quantity of contents of the Products as compared to the size of the container itself.”
The suit charges that the empty space is non-functional in that it is not needed to protect the contents of the package, accommodate required labeling, discourage stealing, facilitate handling, prevent tampering or perform any other necessary function. The complaint claims that the slack-fill is not caused by settling during shipping and handling, and that the packaging at issue provides no significant value to consumers outside of its ability to hold the product.
“Because the packages are filled to about half their capacity, Defendant can increase the products’ fill level significantly without affecting how the containers are sealed, or it can disclose the fill-level on the outside labeling to inform consumers of the amount of lotion actually in the container, consistent with the law,” the suit argues.
According to the case, L’Occitane’s alleged scheme helps the company save money on manufacturing costs and gain leverage over competitors who have implemented required label changes designed to inform consumers of the actual amount of product in each container.
The lawsuit looks to cover California residents who purchased any of L’Occitane’s products containing non-functional slack fill in the state for personal use within the past four years.
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