Specifically, advertising for the pleasure gel, inspired by the best seller Fifty Shades of Grey, claims to have beneficial and aphrodisiac properties to increase pleasure and enhance orgasms. However, according to the plaintiffs, Tania Warchol, none of the ingredients in the product provide such benefits.
"Defendants prominently label the product as an 'Intimate Arousal Gel,' expressly and impliedly conveying to consumers that the product' ingredients will help a user to experience heightened stimulation, pleasure and orgasm, despite that the product fails to be effective as an aphrodisiac,"the suit states.
The complaint alleges Lovehoney Ltd. and its subsidiaries are in violation of California' unfair competition and false advertising laws by making misleadingly claims for "Fifty Shades of Grey Come Alive Pleasure Gel for Her."
The lawsuit also claims that because Lovehoney didn't seek US Food and Drug Administration premarket clearance required for patient lubricants that are used as accessories to condoms, Lovehoney is illegally marketing and selling the product at issue as "latex compatible."
According to the complaint, the pleasure gel is sold online and through retail stores for about $15. It is part of a larger group of products called the "Fifty Shades of Grey: The Official Pleasure Collection Approved by E.L. James,"who authored the bestselling book-turned-movie.
The lawsuit claims that the defendants use purported consumer endorsements or portions of James' book, including: "I surrender, exploding around him--a draining, soulgrabbing orgasm that leaves me spent and exhausted,"to coax consumers into buying the product under false pretenses.
The plaintiff contends that the gel contains small amounts of extracts from organic substances including herbs and roots, some of which the defendants claim have an effect on the human body. However, the lawsuit claims that not only are none of the ingredients effective as an aphrodisiac, but they may also cause an allergic reaction to genital areas.
According to Warchol, she bought the pleasure gel near her home in Hillcrest, California, at least twice in August 2014 at an Adam and Eve adult store owned by PHE Inc., another named defendant. While she relied on the defendants' advertising, the product turned out to be "unsatisfactory,"she said.
The case is Tania Warchol (f/k/a Tania Racha) et al. v. Love Honey Inc., case number 3:15-cv-00238, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The plaintiff seeks to represent a class of consumers who purchased Lovehoney' pleasure gel within four years of her filing of the suit.
The suit seeks an order forcing Lovehoney to stop marketing the pleasure gel using the allegedly misleading tactics, to conduct a corrective advertising campaign, to pay back money it has unjustly enriched and to destroy all misleading and deceptive materials.
The plaintiff and the proposed class are represented by Ronald A. Marron and Skye Resendes of the Law Offices of Ronald A. Marron.