We wonder if MyPillow CEO and QVC vendor Michael Lindell has been losing sleep this week over the $1 million that his business was fined for deceptive advertising charges.
We have ex-QVC host Steve Bryant to thank for posting a the story on Facebook about this mini-scandal involving MyPillow, a product that promises it will give you the best rest ever and is sold on the No. 1 home shopping network.
That didn’t get the company in trouble. What did raise red flags, and the attention of truthinadvertising.org and Cali prosecutors, were unproven claims that the pillow could alleviate disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and restless leg syndrome, according to NBC News.
“Customer testimonials posted on the website, and later taken down, raved about the pillow’s ability to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, migraines, acid reflux, menopause, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and post-traumatic stress disorder, among other conditions, the TINA.org report noted,” according to NBC.
Lindell claimed to NBC that his company didn’t do anything wrong, that he agreed to the fine to avoid prolonged litigation. It is true, the company did not admit any liability.
Here is the full press release, issued on Halloween by the Santa Clara District Attorney, on the case.
For release on October 31, 2016
Francisca Allen, Deputy District Attorney
Consumer Protection Unit
PILLOW COMPANY SETTLES CONSUMER PROTECTION ACTION FOR FALSE ADVERTISING
A pillow company has settled a consumer protection complaint that it falsely advertised itself as a cure for everything from insomnia to restless leg syndrome.
As part of the settlement, My Pillow paid $995,000 in penalties and an additional $100,000 in charitable donations. The complaint was brought by the California Food, Drug and Medical Device Task Force which consists of 10 California District Attorney’s Offices including the Santa Clara DA’s Office.
District Attorney Jeff Rosen said: “We will hold accountable companies that make false claims to get consumers to buy their products. Our Office is proud to be a member of this multi-agency District Attorney task force aimed at protecting unsuspecting Californians from false and misleading advertising.”
The complaint was filed in Alameda County Superior Court on October 26, 2016. It alleges that My Pillow made representations regarding the effects or attributes of its products that were not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. These included that My Pillow products could mitigate the effects of medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, insomnia, and migraines, etc.
The complaint also states that My Pillow advertised itself as the “Official Bed Pillow” of the National Sleep Foundation (“NSF”), without disclosing that a financial connection existed between My Pillow and NSF.
The civil penalty distribution for Santa Clara County totals $99,500, which will be used by the District Attorney’s Office for the enforcement of consumer protection laws. Receiving $10,000 from My Pillow are: YWCA Silicon Valley, Asian Women’s Home (Asian Americans for Community Involvement), Community Solutions for Children, Families and Individuals, and Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence.
The judgment also includes provisions prohibiting My Pillow from: (1) making any claims regarding the efficacy or effects of any of its products without possessing competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the claims; (2) manufacturing or selling any misbranded or falsely advertised medical devices; and (3) advertising that any of its products are the “official” products of a non-profit organization devoted to the study of sleep conditions.
My Pillow and its counsel worked cooperatively to implement changes to its advertising, without admitting liability.