Unilever has been ordered to pay US$770,000 after a court found the company guilty of advertising and packaging its Axe brand hair styling products in a deceptive manner.
A Superior Court of California has now settled the case which originally came to light in August 2013 when a student interning in the Consumer Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office brought a container of Axe hair styling product into the office and explained that the container appeared to have a false bottom.
The Orange County Department of Weights and Measures conducted an investigation and disassembled Axe containers purchased from local stores. The department found that the container tubs misrepresented the quantity of the hair product they contained because they were fraudulently constructed and contained substantial empty space.
Under the court settlement, Unilever has agreed to strict injunctive terms barring it from engaging in unfair or deceptive sales and advertising practices in the future. In particular, the company is banned from misrepresenting the size or quantity of its products by using oversized packaging.
In total, Unilever has been ordered to pay US$750,000 in civil penalties, US$24,000 in costs of the investigation to OCDA, and about US$3,900 in costs of investigation to the Orange County Department of Weights and Measures.
Unilever has admitted no fault or liability.