Into the blue

Jessica Alba’s home goods business called out for misleading marketing

Reuters February 17, 2016
Alba established Honest Co in 2011. PHOTO: FILE

NEW YORK: Honest Co — the shopping website co-founded by actor Jessica Alba — has been accused of labeling its home and personal care products as natural, plant-based or chemical free fraudulently, causing consumers to overpay. The law suit, filed on Friday by Brad and Manon Buonasera in the US District Court of Manhattan, targets the marketing of at least 41 items (floor cleaners, laundry detergent, children’s toothpaste, soap and bubble bath, etc).

According to the complaint, Honest’s products contained a “spectacular array of synthetic and toxic ingredients” such as phenoxyethanol and methylisothiazolinone, the Buonaseras said. The plaintiffs are seeking damages that could top $5 million and be tripled and also want a class-action status for New Yorkers who bought Honest’s products. As per reports, they decided to sue after buying Honest’s Conditioning Detangler Shampoo and Body Wash at a Costco in New York. The company has already discontinued or changed the ingredients and labels for the 41 items, the complaint added.

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In a statement, Honest said, “The Honest Company takes its responsibility to our consumers seriously and strongly stands behind our products. These allegations are without merit and we will vigorously defend this baseless lawsuit. Alba was not named as a defendant.

Interestingly, a similar lawsuit over five other Honest products is pending in a federal court in Los Angeles. The company raised $100 million in funding round in August and, according to a published report, has worked with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley on a possible initial public offering. The Buonaseras’ complaint refers to that plan. 

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th,  2016.

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