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Israel lobby group files class action against cosmetic players

By Simon Pitman , 20-Jun-2007

Claiming that consumers are being fraudulently coherced into buying anti-wrinkle treatments, a lobby group in Israel has filed a class action that names leading cosmetics players L'Oreal, Lancome and Interbeauty Cosmetics Israel.

Described as 'plaintiffs', a report in the Israeli national daily Ha'Aretz said that the group had filed an NIS 1.7bn ($400m) petition at the Tel Aviv District Court aimed at having the claim approved as a class action. The plaintiffs said the petition had been valued at this amount because it took into account the estimated number of women between the age of 30 and 50 who have brought anti-wrinkle products marketed by the companies during the course of the last three years. The petition states that the named companies make or distribute cosmetics products claiming to smooth or repair facial wrinkles, despite the fact that there is no categorical scientific evidence to back this up. The plantiffs go on to claim that such fraudulent claims urge women to 'waste' their money in the false hope that their will be a visible reduction in the their wrinkles. The petition goes also states that women who buy cosmetics with these kind of claims are led to believe that these products will really work, until it finally becomes obvious that they do not and they 'realise the magnitude of the illusion'. Finally, it claims that the companies are violating Israel laws that prohibit the misleading of consumers, which could ultimately lead to the suffering of consumers. Over the years many law suits have been filed against cosmetics companies about claims made about anti-aging products. Most noteable in the US in recent years, was a lawsuit filed by lawyer Debra Scheufler in California two years ago, which also named Estee Lauder, singling out its product marketing claims. Scheufler claimed that the products that she spent an estimated $1,000 did not reverse or even halt visible signs of aging to her face. "These products that tout themselves as anti-ageing products really target women of my era and suck us into the belief that the clock can actually be turned back, when in fact, it cannot be turned back," Scheufler said in an interview with NBC. The lawsuit named Estee Lauder's La Mer anti-ageing skin care range, which includes a premium moisturiser, an under eye baume, a body lotion and a hand cream.

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