GNC customers have filed a class action lawsuit claiming that the company’s Vitamin E Skin Oil is mostly vegetable oil and lacks the benefits of real vitamin E. The GNC Vitamin E Skin Oil class action lawsuit was filed by Toby Brock, who claims she purchased the oil from GNC believing it to be primarily or exclusively vitamin E oil. She says after she purchased the product, she discovered it was made primarily from safflower oil, an inexpensive type of vegetable oil that does not give the same benefits as vitamin E oil. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this with Scott Hardy, the President of Top Class Actions.

Transcript:

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

Farron Cousins:                  We have talked on this program before about GNC and their selling of supplements that frequently turn out to really not be that useful. But today we’ve got something a little bit different about GNC. They also sell, occasionally, oils. Not that go inside of you, but that go on your skin. And like a lot of the supplements sold by these health stores, we’re finding out that the oil sold by GNC is not all it’s cracked up to be. Joining me now to talk about this is Scott Hardy with top class actions and Scott were talking about GNC’s vitamin E oil. You put it on your skin, you feel younger, you look younger, vitamin E is great for the body. Not really very much if any vitamin E in this vitamin E oil is it?

Scott Hardy:                          That’s correct. According to this class action, vitamin E oil is used because it’s a powerful fat soluble antioxidant that can help rejuvenate human skin and overall health. And just like you said, you use this vitamin E, rub it on your skin, hopefully help you look a little bit younger. Well the problem is, according to this class action, the vitamin E that GNC is selling, is actually safflower oil. It’s vegetable oil. It does not have all of those benefits of actual vitamin E oil. And so consumers are going to GNC, they’re paying that premium, they’re trusting the GNC products with the, you know, very big positive brand name and they’re getting vegetable oil instead of vitamin E oil.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, the plaintiff in this case says that she had gone to GNC and she purchases this small bottle of vitamin E oil, that is $12 because nothing in GNC is inexpensive. So she buys this $12 bottle of oil, gets home, is using it and then, you know, finally really looks at what’s in this and turns out, oh I could actually just make French fries with this instead of putting it on my skin because there’s no difference. I mean, GNC, and not just GNC. I mean, we see this a lot of times with these places that pop up. They sell supplements, they sell these oils, there’s no regulation, at least none that really matter on these types of things.

So they can get away with a lot of stuff and I’m not saying everything they sell is a scam, by any stretch of the imagination, but we have to take a closer look because these companies, when given the opportunity to make a profit or do the right thing, we know which one they’re going to choose and it’s not going to be do the right thing. You know, you and I have been in this business a very long time. We have seen documents, we have seen these stories. We know what corporations do when they think nobody’s looking. And I think that happens a lot with companies like GNC and I think that’s a lot of what we’re seeing right here. They knew what this product was, marketed it as something else anyway.

Scott Hardy:                          Exactly, you know, this is something that we see all the time, where a company, you know, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out that GNC was legitimately started out with vitamin E oil and then, you know, due to some cost cutting, they’re trying to make up their profits. They said, hey, let’s switch to safflower oil. It’s similar. Maybe it’s going to have the same benefit. You know, we see that a lot where these cost cutting things come through. So it would be great to see GNC put some money back into their consumers’ pockets. These, these customers love GNC, they’re die hard customers. Take care of them, GNC, give them their money back and upgrade your product. Make sure that you can stand behind your product 100% to say, this is vitamin E oil. This will help your skin and, you know, people will be happy. But don’t, don’t just go that cheap method to try to save a few bucks if it’s going to hurt your customers.

Farron Cousins:                  You know, and that’s a good point you bring up too, because even you and I have talked about this in the past with other products at other companies is they do start off with, hey, this is a legit product. And then over time we take a little bit of the legit stuff out because it’s expensive and we put in filler and then they put in more filler and then suddenly it’s mostly filler with maybe a couple of drops of whatever it’s supposed to actually be. And so yeah, this seems like this could be one of those instances where that happens. So maybe we’ll find that out, you know, hopefully as you said, GNC will end up doing the right thing and they need to do the right thing on a lot of products. They need to be selling what they’re actually claiming to be selling.

And not just GNC, but essentially every corporation in this country. You know, any of the ones you and I have discussed on this program here, they all need to clean up their act, but until they do, that’s why these class action lawsuits exist for the big, the small and everything in between. The goal of it is all the same, and that is to get corporations to finally be honest with consumers. And for more information about this issue, follow the link in the description of this video and head to topclassactions.com and while you’re there, make sure you sign up for their weekly newsletter. Scott Hardy with Top Class Actions, thank you very much for talking with me today.

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

Farron Cousins is the executive editor of The Trial Lawyer magazine and a contributing writer at DeSmogBlog.com. 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