HARTFORD (CN) - A federal class action claims the maker of NIVEA beauty products falsely advertises that using its creams can bring "a reduction of up to 3 cm on targeted body parts such as thighs, hips, waist, and belly." The named plaintiff, a California woman, disputes Beiersdorf Inc.'s claim that its anti-cellulite creams will make her "bikini confident!"
Lead plaintiff Patricia Wiener claims Beiersdorf falsely advertises its products, including NIVEA Good-Buy Cellulite Gel-Cream and NIVEA My Silhouette!
Beiersdorf pushes the products through bogus claims in a variety of media, and through the endorsement of former supermodel Tyra Banks, according to the complaint. Banks is not a party to the case.
The complaint cites Beiersdorf's "Cellulite Gel-Cream" label, which makes statements such as, "NIVEA body Good-bye Cellulite Gel-Cream visibly reduces the appearance of cellulite" thanks to "L-Carnitine," which "supports the conversion of fat into energy."
Its label for another product claims, "Applied at least 2-3 times a week, NIVEA Goodbye Cellulite Patches get to work fast on the targeted body areas - thighs, buttocks and stomach. Results: After three applications the skin is noticeably toned and smoother. After 4 weeks the signs of cellulite on the skin are visibly reduced."
The class claims there is no scientific evidence to substantiate these claims.
The New York Times reported in June 2009 that the market for topical creams was more than $47 million in 2008 and is expected to increase to $62 million by 2013. The June 6, 2009 Times article quotes a University of California clinical associate as saying, "Realistically, there is no cure for cellulite."
The class seeks disgorgement, restitution and damages for breach of warranty, false advertising and consumer law violations. They are represented by James Miller with Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller and Shah of Chester, Conn.
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