In late 2015, over 200 women filed a class action lawsuit against WEN, a hair care company owned by celebrity hairstylist Chaz Dean and popular marketing company Guthy-Renker, alleging that the product caused personal injuries. Late night infomercials featuring media personalities like Alyssa Milano and Brooke Shields claimed that the sulfate-free alternative to shampoo would replace a multitude of hair products, cleaning and softening hair with just one bottle. This is not the first lawsuit to be filed against WEN. In fact, injured consumers have filed so many claims in recent years that an online questionnaire is available for affected users.
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The lawsuit claims that plaintiffs sustained severe injuries to their hair and scalps after using WEN Cleansing Conditioner products and that Guthy-Renker misrepresented the products. The company claims that the products will clean and condition hair, leaving it smoother, shinier, stronger, fuller, and less damaged. The lawsuit claims that WEN and Guthy-Renker failed to disclose that the products contain depilatory and caustic agents that damage hair strands and follicles, causing significant hair loss, damage, and irritation. Despite the 13 safety tests Guthy-Renker has performed on the product, it has only revealed the results of four tests, and the company is not required to report any of these results to the FDA.
One plaintiff, a Florida woman, began losing substantial and abnormal amounts of hair within two weeks of using the Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner kit, eventually losing between one quarter to one third of her hair. She was forced to shell out additional money in an attempt to repair the damage. Other plaintiffs have suffered extreme hair loss and damage and burning of their scalps. Physical effects are not the only adverse results users have experienced. An unhappy customer posted a complaint on WEN’s Facebook page claiming that losing her hair from using the company’s products has caused her to cry when she looks in the mirror now, and she feels forced to wear a hat when out in public. Another user experienced distress after having to explain to friends and family that her hair loss was not the result of chemotherapy.
Consumer complaints are numerous and date back as early as 2012. Over 1,500 complaints posted on a consumer review website claim over $400,000 in losses, and many reviews detail their experiences with scalp damage and irritation as well as hair loss as extreme as 50% reduction in hair thickness and volume. Another investigation found 17,000 complaints to Guthy-Renker about hair loss after using WEN products. Guthy-Renker claims that there is no evidence to support claims that their hair care products or the ingredients within cause hair loss and maintains that any consumer hair loss is unrelated to WEN. The case is currently in mediation, so it remains to be seen whether the members of the lawsuit will settle with WEN or move forward with the lawsuit.
Have You Been Harmed by a Product?
If you have been adversely affected by a product intended to be safe for use, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and pain and suffering. Do not let dishonest companies railroad you into merely accepting refunds for defective products that have affected your quality of life. Contact John Piccin for help determining your next steps. Call us at 352-581-6174 for a free case evaluation today.