Guthy-Renker facing lawsuit following hair loss complaints

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pleading

Images of hair loss filed in the complaint
Images of hair loss filed in the complaint
Dallas-based firm Christiansen Davis has filed suit in a California federal court after multiple women claimed to have suffered severe hair loss after using ‘Wen Hair Products’. 

The products are designed, manufactured and sold by Chaz Dean, a Hollywood self-purported holistic hair stylist, and Guthy-Renker, the direct marketing giant behind Proactiv and other beauty care products.

According to Christiansen Davis, this is the first mass action seeking damages for personal injuries caused to consumers by the products. 

The companies have marketed the products as conditioning the hair and limiting or repairing damage caused by regular hair treatments and daily styling. 

However, Amy E. Davis, partner at the law firm reckons that the products cause severe and possibly permanent damage to hair, including hair loss to the point of visible bald spots and severe breakage. 

She told USA that many of the women called the companies for help and were told their complaints were atypical when it appears the companies had received prior, similar calls.

At this time, the complaint includes women residing in Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Minnesota, New Jersey and North Carolina. Davis expects more will be added, as the firm is being contacted by more victims on a daily basis. 

Rather than take the products off the market, Davis says the companies have increased their marketing.

On contacting Guthy-Renker for comment, a representative told Cosmetics Design; "We do not comment on pending litigation".

Guthy-Renker also rapped by the ASA for a 'misleading ad'

In 2012, Guthy-Renker found itself in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority after it challenged the company as to whether the testimonials and endorsements in a television ad featuring an American singer endorsing a Proactiv product to a UK audience was misleading.

A complainant contacted the ASA, because she believed the celebrities were likely to have used the American formulation of Proactiv, which contained an active ingredient that was not present in the UK formulation.

At the time, Guthy-Renker UK said each of the celebrities featured had been sent the UK formulations of various Proactiv Solution products for their use, adding that they held talent agreements with each of the celebrities, in which they agreed to give testimonials about the products the company had sent them.

Furthermore, the company said that many of the Proactiv Solution products had only one formulation that was used in the US and the UK but using different brand names and packaging.

It also submitted signed statements from five of the celebrities, which said they had received and used the UK formulations of Proactiv products, while promising that they would submit other statements as soon as they were able to obtain them.

Nevertheless, the ASA ruled that it was the signed statement from that celebrity indicating that she had used the UK formulation of the product for "several weeks during 2009​" that was likely to be interpreted as suggesting the celebrity's skin continued to benefit from using the product when the ad was viewed in August 2011. 

Related topics Regulation & Safety Hair Care

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