Consumer Fraud Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against GNC
As consumers, most of us understand just how important labels and lists of ingredients are. Not only should companies not be able to claim that their products do things that they do not, but ingredient lists can be especially important in protecting consumers, both in ensuring that they are getting the product that they intended to buy, and to protect against or example, health-related issues in reaction to those ingredients. If companies allege that certain ingredients are or are not included in products fraudulently, it constitutes consumer fraud.
A lawsuit recently filed against General Nutrition Corp. (GNC) claims that the labels on bottles of its Aloe Vera Skin Gel are misleading because they state that the product is “99 percent Aloe Vera Gel” when, in fact, aloe barbadensis leaf juice is not in the product. Specifically, the consumer bringing this case has asserted claims for breach of express warranty, breach of implied warranty, violation of state consumer protection (in five states where the product is sold), as well as a violation of the main state Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act where the consumer purchased the product.
Consumer Protection Laws
We have both state and federal laws designed to protect consumers from fraud, including the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Consumer Product Safety Act, and Federal Trade Commission Act. States like Florida have also adopted their own versions of the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (Florida’s version is called the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, FDUTPA), which privates a remedy (including attorneys fees) when the party sued willfully engaged in a trade practice known to be deceptive (including untrue or misleading advertising). FDUTPA prohibits unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are declared unlawful. Florida, amongst several other states, has been one of the leaders in consumer protection, and has a Department of Consumer Affairs to protect consumers.
GNC has responded to the lawsuit by questioning the testing behind the product, as well as the consumer bringing the lawsuit. Specifically, the company has alleged that the lawsuit should not cover any jurisdictions (states) outside of where the product was purchased and argues that the claims are based on tests performed by undisclosed individuals using undisclosed methods, leading to issues with those factual allegations linked to the tests. GNC has argued that there is no evidence that these types of tests will always show that a product is made with aloe vera and/or aloe barbadensis leaf juice by indicating the presence of acemannan, a polysaccharide largely responsible for the benefits that aloe vera offers.
Experienced Consumer Protection Attorneys Serving Florida
If you feel that you’ve been the victim of consumer fraud, you are protected. There are state and federal laws to protect you and your rights.
Lavalle, Brown & Ronan, P.A. has a combined record of more than 130 years protecting consumers by bringing consumer fraud lawsuits. Contact us today for a free consultation in Boca Raton.