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WEN Lawsuit Highlights Problems with Products Sold Online

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Sacramento, CAA WEN lawsuit filed against Guthy-Renker highlights issues with the company's hair care product, alleging women who used the product line actually lost their hair. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs issue a variety of allegations, including breach of warranty, violations of California's False Advertising Law, and failure to warn. The lawsuits also highlight the complexity associated with laws governing ordering products online versus ordering them over the phone.

The plaintiffs, Amy Friedman, Judi Miller, and Krystal Henry-McArther, all purchased and used WEN themselves only to discover their hair fell out. Where they differed is that Miller purchased WEN over the phone, while Friedman and Henry-McArthur made their purchases via the Guthy-Renker website.

Guthy-Renker responded to the lawsuit by filing a Motion to Dismiss based on three arguments including an argument that by purchasing WEN, Guthy-Renker claims the women who purchased the product online agreed to binding arbitration (there is apparently no binding arbitration clause when the product is purchased online).

But Friedman and Henry-McArthur argue that Guthy-Renker did not give customers proper inquiry notice of the terms involving arbitration. Since they were not given notice of the terms, the plaintiffs allege, they should not be forced to submit to arbitration. The courts were then left to weigh how the WEN website is laid-out, particularly as it relates to the terms and conditions section.

The court found that the link to the terms and conditions was buried at the bottom of the screen, which is not enough notice for the customer. Further, the court found that the text above the link and the credit card authorization were misleading, at least in Friedman's case. By the time Henry-McArthur made her purchase, the website had changed, with more notice given for terms and conditions. As a result, Henry-McArthur's lawsuit was dismissed.

Guthy-Renker also argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because there were no written warranties about WEN. Specifically, the company argued, their claims about WEN were not a promise about the product, merely a description of the product. The court found, however, that statements such as "The more you use, the better the results!" are more than product descriptions and do warrant the product's effectiveness and safety. As a result, the court refused to dismiss the lawsuit on the basis of no breach of warranty. As a result, portions of the lawsuit were allowed to continue.

The lawsuit is Friedman et al v. Guthy-Renker LLC. Case number 2:14-cv-06009, in U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
I purchased this product with great hopes. I was disappoinited and scared my hair began breaking and falling out. I am still fighting sores in my head.

Posted by

on
I purchased and use Wen fig Cleansing Conditioner and Replenishing Treatment Mist, and lost an abundance of hair at the front and sides of my hair line. I also saw no other results that they promised. I purchased my products on the internet either from Chas Dean or QVC, I still have remaining product. This has never happened to me with my regular shampoo before or after the use of the "Wen" products. My hair loss has not been restored. Thank you.

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