A proposed class action claims Fetch For Pets’ Martha Stewart line of pet products is misleadingly advertised and marketed as “natural” when they, in fact, contain synthetic ingredients.
The 45-page case alleges the defendant has centered its representations of its Martha Stewart line of pet shampoos, conditioners and cleaners on claims that appeal to consumers who desire to keep their pets healthy by using “natural” products. The lawsuit says, however, that Fetch for Pets’ “natural” representations are “false, deceptive, and misleading” in that the products contain a slew of non-natural synthetic ingredients.
According to the suit, consumers have “reasonably relied to their detriment” on Fetch For Pets’ misleading advertising and paid a premium price for products they otherwise would not have purchased, or for which they would have paid less.
Despite the fact that the labels of the defendant’s Martha Stewart pet products prominently display the word “natural,” the items, the lawsuit says, contain various non-natural ingredients, including cetearyl alcohol, hydroxyethylcellulose, butylene glycol, polysorbate-20, methylisothiazolinone, stearic acid, tocopheryl acetate, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, sodium bicarbonate, silica, sodium, glycerin and DMDM hydantoin, a preservative that has recently been alleged to cause hair loss and scalp irritation when used in certain shampoos.
Per the case, the aforementioned ingredients would not be considered “natural” as reasonable consumers understand the term. Citing a U.S. Department of Agriculture decision tree, the lawsuit explains that a substance is natural, as opposed to synthetic, only when it is derived from a natural source and has not undergone a chemical change that alters its chemical makeup or structure, unless the change was a naturally occurring biological process such as composting, fermentation, enzymatic digestion, heating or burning.
As the case tells it, consumers would not be able to ascertain at the point of sale whether the Martha Stewart pet products are really “natural” given the ability to do so would require “a scientific investigation and knowledge of chemistry beyond that of the average consumer.”
“This is why, even though the ingredients listed above are identified on the back of the Products’ packaging in the ingredients listed, the reasonable consumer would not understand – nor are they expected to understand - that these ingredients are synthetic,” the complaint attests.
The lawsuit alleges the following Fetch for Pets Martha Stewart pet products contain synthetic ingredients:
Martha Stewart Natural Conditioner For All Dogs Moisturizing Vanilla Almond;
Martha Stewart Natural Shampoo For All Dogs Moisturizing Vanilla Almond;
Martha Stewart Natural Oatmeal & Aloe Dog Shampoo;
Martha Stewart Natural Oatmeal & Aloe Dog Conditioner;
Martha Stewart Natural Itch Relief Lavender Mist Dog Shampoo;
Martha Stewart Natural Itch Relief Lavender Mist Dog Conditioner;
Martha Stewart Natural 2-in-1 Grapefruit Puppy Shampoo & Conditioner;
Martha Stewart Natural Nose & Paw Dog Lotion;
Martha Stewart Natural Itch Relief Lavender Mint Scent Dog Wipes;
Martha Stewart Natural All Purpose Oatmeal & Aloe Scent Dog Wipes;
Martha Stewart Natural Tearless Grapefruit Scent Puppy Wipes;
Martha Stewart Natural Lemongrass Verbena Scent Cat Wipes;
Martha Stewart Oxygenated Carpet Powder with Baking Soda Odor Neutralizer;
Martha Stewart Oxygenated Odor Eliminator with Baking Soda;
Martha Stewart Oxygenated Urine Remover with Baking Soda; and
Martha Stewart Oxygenated Surface Spray with Baking Soda.
The case alleges Fetch for Pets has violated New York’s General Business Law and the federal Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
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