Many products claiming to only use “natural” ingredients can’t seem to back those claims up under scrutiny, and many have been found to be using synthetic ingredients. In many instances, companies understand that they can get consumers to pay a few dollars more for their products if they claim that they are “all natural” even when their own labels betray that claim. And right now there are millions of dollars on the table in the form of settlements for consumers who have been duped by these products, and Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses these settlements with Scott Hardy from Top Class Actions.

Check out these links to learn more about these class actions settlements: Wesson ‘natural’ cooking oil, Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent and Utz, Bachman snacks.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Farron Cousins:                  Everybody wants to be healthier. I mean, let’s be perfectly honest about that. No matter if you actually make the efforts to do it or what everybody would love to be a little bit healthier. So when we see any product labeled all natural, whether it’s something we consume, whether it’s something we use as a cleaning product because we want to help the environment and get rid of these harmful toxic chemicals, we’re all kind of drawn to that all natural label. But as we have discussed time and time again, those all natural labels, a lot of times, not all what they are cracked up to be.

And I’ve got Scott Hardy from Top Class Actions with me now to tell us about some recent settlements, some worth a couple million dollars. So Scott, there is cash available for consumers who have been duped by some of these all natural products. Start with the first one here, we’ve got Wesson “natural” cooking oil. They have agreed to a big settlement for consumers, haven’t they?

Scott Hardy:                          Yes, they have and at first glance you’re going to look at this settlement and go, what the heck, Scott. Why are you even talking about it? Get it out of my face because it’s 15 cents per bottle. And that was my first glance. I said to my team, what the heck are you sending this to me for? We don’t want to tell people about this, but as you know with cooking oil, you use a lot of it. And so Wesson got hit saying it’s all natural or 100% natural when in fact there are ingredients that are not all natural and that are synthetic.

And so it’s 15 cents per bottle, but you can get up to 30 units and so then you can actually get a couple of bucks back if you used the Wesson natural cooking oil. You want to make sure to submit your claim. Again, it’s up to 30 bottles so that adds up. You will be able to make a few bucks on this, ideally, as long as you’re included in the settlement. Then you move on. I’m sorry, go ahead Farron.

Farron Cousins:                  No, I was going to add too, people please don’t be intimidated signing up for any of these class actions. It’s typically very simple. A couple of minutes really. I, I’ve had to do several myself and it is so worth your time to just do it. Again, one to two minutes typically for these, it really does not take much longer than that unless it’s a bigger product and a larger settlement. But if this is something you use, please do not hesitate. Follow the links in the description of this video. It’s all right there. So I, sorry to interrupt you Scott. I just wanted people to know this is not a long process. You know, they don’t have to sit there for 30, 45 minutes filling out forms. It, it, it’s so simple and it’s definitely worth your time. So again, sorry I interrupted, keep going there.

Scott Hardy:                          Oh no, that’s just fine and because you’re making a good point. Most of these settlements just take one to two minutes. You go online, you fill out the claim form and you’re done. A lot of them take less than a minute. The ones that you, you might want to get proof of purchase on, cause you can get a lot more. Typically without proof of purchase, you’re maxed out at 25, 50 bucks per claim. If you do have proof of purchase and you can go ahead and find your receipts, you can get hundreds of dollars per claim.

So we always break that down in each settlement so you know which ones are really, you know, worth your time to dig in and spend 5 to 10 minutes instead to find those receipts and submit that claim. The next one is the Purex Natural Elements laundry detergent. This one so far has received 365 shares. So it’s been fairly popular online. Again, people were buying this, trying to find a, use a more natural laundry detergent and this actually class action almost went completely away because Purex came out and said, well, our laundry detergent is mostly water and water is natural, therefore we’re okay saying it was natural.

But you know, not paying attention to the actual ingredients that clean your clothes aren’t natural. Their whole argument was, well, water is natural. This is mostly water, therefore all natural laundry detergent. Thankfully the court kind of said bubkis to that one and you’ll be able to submit your claim and get and get some money back if you used Purex, $2 to $4 per product and, or a $2 to $4 per product and you can submit up to 10 claims. But keep in mind if you say, I bought 10 of these, I want 40 bucks back, you know, you could get challenged for your receipts. So be honest. Only submit claims for those things that you actually qualify for.

Farron Cousins:                  And this one is a…

Scott Hardy:                          The next…

Farron Cousins:                  Well I was going to say this one is actually a rather big one, that’s a one and a half million dollar settlement with this Purex one. And Purex, you know, is very popular mostly because it’s just as effective as the other cleaners, but typically a couple of dollars more. So anybody who’s a little bit more frugal, anyone on a budget, I, I know when I was in college, this was my go to detergent. I use this one for years. Not necessarily the natural elements, but Purex. That’s all it was. So again, this is popular. A lot of people have probably purchased this. One and a half million dollars sitting on the table right now, don’t just let it sit there. All right, so Scott, sorry again to interrupt you, I just, I get excited sometimes, but take us through this last one here.

Scott Hardy:                          Sure. We’ve got the Utz Bachman all natural snacks class action settlement. So if you eat the yummy Utz pretzels, potato chips, popcorn, snack mixes, salsa and dips, or the Bachman branded of the same version, you’ll be able to participate. So far we’ve had 237 shares, 73 comments on this. So people talking about it and it’s all because they were saying that their, these snacks are all natural. They’re non GMO, they’re non-synthetic.

Once, once you dig into these things, you find out that there are GMO ingredients, that there are synthetic ingredients and that, while very tasty and very good, you technically can’t claim that they’re all natural according to the FDA. So that’s why you’ve got these settlements in here and people could claim up to $20 if they’d been having these yummy treats. And I don’t know a single person who doesn’t or hasn’t had an Utz pretzel so far this year. So I’m sure this one will be pretty up there on the claim rate.

Farron Cousins:                  Absolutely, and on that one, there is a $1.25 million again, sitting on the table, and again, it’s a couple minutes to sign up for these things. These companies did something wrong, consumers were the victims. Take one to two minutes out of your day if you’ve been affected, sign up for these and if you want more, maybe you don’t qualify for these products. I can promise you there is something you qualify for. Go to, absolutely check through the settlements. You will find something that you or your spouse or a friend of yours does qualify for and while you’re there, sign up for their weekly newsletter. Get all of this information emailed directly into your inbox and stay on top of the issues that you as a consumer need to know about. Scott Hardy, Top Class Actions. Thank you very much for talking with us today.

Scott Hardy:                          Oh, you’re welcome. Thanks for your time Farron.

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at He is the co-host / guest host for Ring of Fire Radio. His writings have appeared on Alternet, Truthout, and The Huffington Post. Farron received his bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of West Florida in 2005 and became a member of American MENSA in 2009. Follow him on Twitter @farronbalanced