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Suit alleges false advertising for Olay anti-aging products

By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — A California woman has brought a class-action suit against Procter & Gamble Co., accusing its Olay Regenerist line of anti-aging products of false advertising and “ill-gotten gains.”

In Superior Court in Los Angeles, a complaint from Lorette Perez-Pirio this week said that magazine and Internet ads and product labels for the Anti-Aging Eye Roller and the Regenerating Eye Cream “misrepresent the effects and purported benefits of the products.”

It is claimed that the products reduce puffiness, dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles, promising “younger-looking skin without the drastic measures,” according to the complaint.

But the suit alleges that P&G is aware that its products, of which at least hundreds of thousands of units were said to have been sold, “do not possess the requisite competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate their bold claims.”

Perez-Pirio wrote to P&G last year seeking a remedy but said in the suit that the company rejected her demand. Now she’s hoping to loop in customers who bought the products starting in May 2008 and is asking for injunctive relief and restitution.

P&G could not immediately be reached for comment.

The beauty and anti-aging market is booming, according to the complaint. Olay was named this month as the most valuable beauty brand by London brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance Plc.

Olay is worth $11.8 billion, up 6 percent from last year’s $11.1 billion, according to the report, beating out Avon, L’Oreal, Neutrogena and Nivea. Makeup sales are on the rise, according to research firm NPD Group.

“In an effort to capitalize on this growing and robust market, manufacturers routinely make far-fetched claims about the benefits of a product,” the suit claims, accusing many companies of being “snake-oil salesmen.”

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