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January 28, 2013 / Steven Soliman

Philips Sonicare “AirFloss” Class Action Lawsuit

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Philips Oral Healthcare Inc., manufacturer of oral hygiene products such as the Sonicare Toothbrush, for alleged false advertising over their latest product – the Sonicare AirFloss.

According to the American Dental Association, flossing helps remove debris and interproximal dental plaque, the plaque that collects between two teeth. Dental floss (or dental tape) helps clean these hard-to-reach tooth surfaces and reduces the likelihood of gum disease and tooth decay. In response, Dr. Joerg Strate, Vice President at Philips Oral Healthcare, Clinical & Scientific Affairs department, explained that “Sonicare AirFloss replaces traditional flossing with microbursts of water and air.” However, many consumers are complaining that the AirFloss does not clean beneath the gum line, and therefore cannot replace the traditional methods of flossing with dental floss or tape.

Lead Plaintiff Lilia Perkins filed the class action in June of 2012, and sued for breach of warranty, unfair competition, false advertising, and violations of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Philips attempted to dismiss the lawsuit by arguing that the claims against it were nothing more than “nonactionable puffery,” but U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn L. Huff rejected that argument. Instead, Judge Huff ruled that the statements found on the AirFloss packaging, including the claim that using AirFloss is an “easier way to floss,” could lead consumers to believe that the product is the equivalent of dental floss. She explained, “These statements strongly suggest that consumers should floss more often; and a reasonable consumer could believe that they can remedy the problem by purchasing the AirFloss.”

Judge Huff also allowed Perkins’ unfair competition claims to stand because she was able to establish that she relied on the AirFloss marketing campaign when she purchased the product.

If you or someone you know has purchased a product that did not work as advertised, please contact Khorrami, LLP for more information.


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