Unilever Sued for Alleged Misrepresentation of Deodorant as Natural

A class action complaint was filed on Monday in the Southern District of Florida by plaintiff Yesenia Valiente defendant Unilever United States, Inc. The complaint alleges that the defendant’s antiperspirant deodorant product is advertised in a way that is intentionally misleading to consumers.

The defendant produces and markets an antiperspirant deodorant under their brand Dove Advanced Care. The product is advertised to have added moisturizers and natural oils. The front labeling of the product includes phrases including “go fresh” and pictures of fruits or vegetables with seeds. The complaint explains that consumers value these supposed natural ingredients, calling the presence of natural ingredients “very important” to almost fifty percent of the public.

Plaintiff Valiente asserts that the packaging of the defendant’s product is misleading as it is “understood by consumers to mean all the oil ingredients are not synthetic, not produced through chemical synthesis or by using chemical compounds.”

The defendant’s ingredient details reveal that in comparison to synthetic ingredients, the amount of natural oils in the product is minimal. The most prominent oil is hydrogenated castor oil, which is produced chemically. Valiente contends that it is “misleading to promote the product with the claim of “natural oil” when its most predominant oil, hydrogenated castor oil, is a synthetic ingredient.” Valiente goes on to argue that the other ingredients in the product, such as helianthus annuus seed oil, are also misrepresented through the advertisement of the product.

The representations and omissions made in regard to the product are described by the plaintiff as false and misleading, since “reasonable consumers must and do rely on a company to honestly and lawfully market and describe its components, attributes, and features of a product.” Further, due to the misrepresentations, the defendant is able to market the product at a higher price than it is worth at the expense of consumers.

The complaint cites violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, State Consumer Fraud Act, and the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, as well as breaches of express warranty, implied warranty of merchantability/fitness for a particular purpose, negligent misrepresentation, fraud, and unjust enrichment. The plaintiff is seeking class certification for themselves and all others similarly situated, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, monetary, statutory, and punitive damages, litigation fees, and any other relief deemed just by the Court.

The plaintiff is represented by Sheehan & Associates, P.C. and the Law Office of Alexander J. Korolinsky.