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A class action lawsuit was filed against hair product maker Guthy-Renker LLC in a California federal court on July 31, alleging that its WEN Cleansing Conditioner hair products cause hair loss that continues even after a customer stops using the product.
Plaintiff Amy Friedman of Florida purchased the WEN Cleansing Conditioner Sweet Almond Mint basic kit on Jan. 29, 2014 for $29.95 after seeing advertisements for the product.
“Within two weeks of beginning use of her WEN Cleansing Conditioner, Plaintiff began losing substantial and abnormal amounts of hair,” the class action lawsuit explains.
Friedman stopped using the product, “but the hair loss continued for approximately three more weeks.”
The Florida woman claims that she “lost one quarter to one third of the hair on her head.”
To resolve the issue, Friedman, who is also a nurse practitioner, spent a significant amount of money on vitamins and supplements to regrow her hair.
“Additionally, plaintiff began using substantial expensive cosmetic solutions, such as hair extensions, to mask the hair loss,” the class action lawsuit says.
Friedman claims that her experience is not an isolated incident and she says that “the internet is replete with examples of blogs and other websites where consumers have complained of the exact same issues with WEN Cleansing Conditioner.”
According to the class action lawsuit, Guthy-Renker advertised its product on its website with false and misleading claims such as “‘WEN is gentle enough to use every day’ and ‘WEN isn’t like an ordinary shampoo so you want to use more of it, not less. You can never use too much! The More you use, the better the results.'”
Such statements “lead Friedman and other consumers to purchase the WEN hair products.”
Friedman alleges that “these statements and others were false and have harmed plaintiff and the Class. As a result of the defective nature of the products, they were and are unfit for their intended use and purpose.”
According to the Florida woman, Guthy-Renker had “knowledge of a material design defect” with the product, yet it did not “disclose and/or warn plaintiff and other consumers that WEN Cleansing Conditioner can and does cause substantial hair loss.”
Beyond failing to disclose the alleged side effects, Friedman alleges that Guthy-Renker actively “concealed customers’ comments concerning hair loss, by blocking and/or erasing such comments from the WEN Facebook page.”
The Florida woman also says that Guthy-Renker “reinforces its false statements” by citing a “3-week study of users of WEN Cleansing Conditioner,” in which “100% said hair was more moisturized, 97% notice that WEN added more shine, and 95% reported that hair became more manageable.”
The website for the WEN hair products then states below these claims on the webpage “that these results are not typical,” Friedman says in her class action lawsuit.
“If the results are not typical, what purpose does this information serve, other than to mislead potential consumers into purchasing defendant’s defective product?” she asks.
Friedman is proposing two classes — a national class for all customers who purchased the WEN Cleansing Conditioner from Aug. 1, 2009 through the present and a Florida class for all customers in Florida who purchased the WEN Cleansing Conditioner from Aug. 1, 2009 through the present.
She is charging Guthy-Renker with breach of warranty, violating California’s unfair competition law, violating the California false advertising law, violating Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive trade Practices Act, negligence, failure to warn, failure to test, and strict products liability.
Amy Friedman is represented by Michael Flannery and William Anderson of Cuneo Gilbert and Laduca, LLP and by Brian W. Warwick and Janet R. Varnell of Varnell and Warwick, PA.
There is no attorney information available for the defendant at this time.
The WEN Cleansing Conditioner Class Action Lawsuit is Amy Friedman v. Guthy-Renker LLC, Case No. 2:14-cv-MRP-AGR, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
UPDATE 2: On Dec. 15, 2015, we learned that the parties in this WEN class action lawsuit have agreed to pursue mediation. A second WEN hair products class action lawsuit with 200 named plaintiffs is also headed to mediation. We will continue to update this article as we learn more about the status of the WEN litigation.
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If you experienced hair loss or other damage to your hair after using a WEN hair care product, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a WEN lawsuit or joining a WEN class action lawsuit. Fill out the form on this page now (located on the right for regular website visitors and below the article for mobile visitors) to see if you qualify!
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