Details surrounding the settlement that the Honest Co. agreed to earlier last month have been released. It turns out that Jessica Alba’s company will pay $7.35 million “in a marketing fraud lawsuit that alleged the company fraudulently labeled products as natural, plant-based or chemical-free.”
For those who don’t know, the company, which was founded in 2011 and is based in Playa Vista, was accused by Brad Buenasera of “misleadingly marketing at least 41 items including bubble bath, children’s toothpaste, floor cleaners, laundry detergent, and soap.” According to the lawsuit, Buonasera asserted that many Honest Company products “were labeled natural, all natural, naturally derived, plant-based and no harsh chemicals, but actually contained a spectacular array of synthetic and toxic ingredients.” According to a report issued by Reuters, independent tests did indeed reveal that “the products contained synthetic and toxic ingredients.”
Despite agreeing to the settlement, the Honest Co. has denied the accusations, “and last week said it stood behind its products’ safety and effectiveness.” According to the company, the decision to settle was merely “to limit the cost and distraction of litigation.” In a statement, the company said: “This settlement in no way changes the fact that our marketing practices are entirely appropriate and we will continue to market products as ‘natural.’”
But what about the customers who may have purchased one of the mislabeled products? What do they stand to gain from the settlement? For starters, “under the settlement, customers are entitled to receive a $2.50 payment or credit for each eligible product purchased.” However, “there is a 10-product limit for customers without proof of purchase and no maximum for shoppers with proof.”
However, this isn’t the first time The Honest Co. has come under fire. In addition to this lawsuit accusing the Honest Co. of mislabeling products, the company was sued by a customer back in 2015 who claimed “its sunscreen doesn’t work and isn’t really natural,” and in 2016 the “Organic Consumers Association filed a suit claiming that Honest baby formula contains ingredients that aren’t really organic.” While the case surrounding the baby formula has been dismissed, the sunscreen case is “still being litigated.” Additionally, the company also settled another class action lawsuit last month for $1.55 million over claims that the company “sold laundry detergent, dish soap and surface cleaners containing a skin irritant it had pledged to avoid.”
So far Jessica Alba’s company has had a rough start to 2017. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out for her.