SANTA MONICA, CA, Aug. 30, 2016 – Consumer Watchdog today called on Attorney General Kamala Harris “to take immediate action on the hundreds of consumer complaints against Herbalife to obtain relief for the hundreds of Californians, regardless of their immigration status, who were victimized by Herbalife’s deceptive and predatory business practices.”
The nonpartisan, nonprofit public interest said Harris should file a suit against Herbalife for failure to honor a 1986 injunction that was supposed to stop the company’s abusive practices.
Herbalife recently reached a settlement with Federal Trade Commission, requiring Herbalife to pay $200 million to their consumer base and restructure their abusive business practices.
In a letter to Harris calling for her to act on behalf of all California residents, Jamie Court, Consumer Watchdog President and John M. Simpson, the public interest group’s Privacy Project Director, wrote:
“Undocumented residents, who represent a disproportionate share of Herbalife’s victims, are unlikely to come forward to take advantage of a federal settlement. Simply put, they fear that giving information to a federal agency could lead to their deportation. Therefore, we urge you to launch an investigation into Herbalife’s past business practices in California and to take action on behalf of all California residents, including those who are afraid of seeking to benefit from the FTC settlement.”
Read Consumer Watchdog’s letter here: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrharris-083016.pdf
Consumer Watchdog said the FTC settlement “represents a step toward justice for those who have fallen victim to the company and who are willing and able to make a claim.”
“However, the FTC action is not enough; you must ensure that the company never has another opportunity to mislead consumers within the State of California again and that all victims in the state, regardless of immigration status, receive restitution,” Court and Simpson wrote,
Consumer Watchdog said that in 1986 then Attorney General John Van de Kamp obtained an injunction that was supposed to stop Herbalife’s abusive practices, but the company never fully complied. In the last three years a reported 780 victims have filed consumer complaints about Herbalife to the Attorney General’s office.
“By filing a lawsuit against Herbalife for violating the 1986 injunction, you can provide relief to the hundreds of Californians that were victimized by Herbalife’s business practices and offer further protection and restitution to all California residents that were affected,” then letter said.
Consumer Watchdog noted that there is clear precedent for state action against Herbalife. Earlier this summer, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced a $3 million settlement to directly resolve the consumer complaints filed against Herbalife in her state.
“The victims in California, regardless of their immigration status, deserve similar additional support, then letter concluded. “California needs you, Attorney General Harris to stand with them. We are asking for action that will provide justice to all those in the state who have been hurt by Herbalife’s deception and abusive predatory business practices.”