CVS punished for misleading product packaging

Friday, October 3, 2014

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- CVS will pay almost a-quarter-million dollars for misleading customers into believing they were getting more of a product than they really were, using false bottoms or false sides in its packaging.

Action News has obtained court documents detailing the investigation and final judgment against the Rhode Island-based pharmacy giant. It says CVS mislabeled 11 products under its own brand. Investigators found the company misrepresented product sizes or quantity "by use of oversized and non-functional slack-fill and/or false sidewalls and /or false bottoms," according to the documents.

The packaging violated California business and professions codes and health and safety codes.

Under an agreement, CVS will pay a $225,000 settlement to four California counties - including $54,810 each to Fresno, Yolo, Sacramento, and Shasta counties. The settlement also includes $3,000 to the Sacramento County Dept. of Weights and Measures, $1,560 to the Yolo County Agricultural Commissioner, and $1,200 to the California Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Weights and Measures.

CVS has two years to comply with state labeling laws, and can continue manufacturing the products until January 1, 2015. In other words, it can still produce the mislabeled products for three more months and can sell them for two years.

CVS sent the following response to ABC30 Action News:

"CVS/pharmacy has entered into an agreement with District Attorneys in a few California counties to resolve allegations concerning the packaging size of certain CVS Brand products. CVS/pharmacy is committed to ensuring that its product packaging is sufficient in size to accommodate pertinent information about the product. CVS Brand products, including packaging, are generally designed to be similar to the national brand equivalents. While manufacturers generally choose the container size, CVS/pharmacy has agreed to redesign the packaging of certain CVS Brand items."

The mislabeled products were identified as:

  • Accelerated Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer, Day
  • Accelerated Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer, Night
  • Age Refine Eye Cream, 0.5 ounces
  • Age-Refine Day Cream, 2.5 ounces
  • Anti-Wrinkle And Firming Cream
  • Healthy Complexion Anti-Wrinkle Moisturizer Acne Treatment Cream, Clear Skin
  • Frizz-Defy Hair Serum
  • Moisturizing Face Cream Hair Remover
  • Preventin -AT 2 in 1 Dark Circle And Wrinkle Eye Treatment
  • Maximum Scalp Relief
  • Ultra Firm And Lift Eye Duo