Colgate brushes off ‘misleading’ Tom’s of Maine brand lawsuit

By Becky Bargh | Published: 8-Sep-2021

Personal care brand walks away from litigation that argued ‘natural’ claims were deceiving consumers

Tom’s of Maine, a personal care brand owned by personal care giant Colgate, has dodged a lawsuit that accused it of ‘misleading’ customers.

Angela Munsell, the lead plaintiff, filed litigation at a Massachusetts federal court against the brand in December 2019, claiming that Tom’s falsely labelled its products as ‘natural’.

She said the wording was deceptive as its toothpastes and deodorants contained artificial and synthetic ingredients, such as xylitol, sodium lauryl, ascorbic acid and aluminium chlorohydrate.

Colgate and Tom’s filed a joint motion to dismiss the case in February 2020, arguing that no reasonable consumer would be duped by the wording when viewed in conjunction with its product packaging and online materials.

However, a judge rejected the bid to dismiss the suit in May, determining that the word ‘natural’ could mislead consumers.

Subsequently, the case was referred to mediation in July the same year, which has only just resulted in a win for the personal care giant.

This is not the only time Tom’s has been on the receiving end of a lawsuit to its ‘natural’ product claims.

In 2016, Colgate and Tom’s were in court faced with the same allegations.

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