Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company has agreed to pay $1.55 million to resolve a class-action lawsuit that accused the brand of using sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) in its products — an organic chemical derived from coconut oil and found in common items like laundry detergent and toothpaste — despite the fact that the company had pledged not to include that ingredient.
The proposed settlement [PDF] will settle class-action claims that accused Honest of misleading customers by claiming that its products didn’t contain SLS, which can be a skin irritant, though it was using a “gentler” component of the chemical, sodium coco sulfate (SCS).
After a March 2016 report in The Wall Street Journal claimed that Honest Co.’s detergent used SLS, consumers filed six different complaints against the company. In August, a judge ordered those cases to be combined [PDF].
Under the proposed settlement — which has a July 24 hearing date to consider preliminary approval — consumers will be able to apply for refunds or credits on Honest’s website for up to $50 without proofs of purchase, and larger amounts if they have receipts. Honest.com credits will be valued at 1.5 times the dollar recovery amount.
The agreement would also prevent Honest from marketing any products that contain SCS as being free of SLS.
“This non-monetary relief directly addresses the allegations in this lawsuit and ensures that consumers will be able to make more informed purchasing decisions regarding the Products,” the proposed settlement agrees.
Honest Co. has not admitted any wrongdoing with the proposed plan, but has agreed to reformulate its products and this time, skip both ingredients entirely.
“We vigorously deny any and all allegations alleged in the lawsuit – specifically that any of our cleaning products contain SLS,” a spokesperson for Honest Co. told Consumerist. “However, given the fact that continued litigation could be protracted and expensive, we have settled this lawsuit to limit further costs and distraction to our business. We stand behind the safety and effectiveness of our products and the responsibility we have to our consumers, and are gratified by the loyalty of both our customers and retail partners.”
Source: Consumer Reviews