Does Your Unscented Deodorant Smell? Lawsuit Says It Does

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A recent class-action lawsuit accuses some of the biggest names in the deodorant business of selling deodorants as "unscented" when they really had a fragrance.

"Unscented" deodorants are marketed to consumers who have sensitivity to smells and often also note they are hypoallergenic. The companies, the lawsuit alleges, should have known that the products they were selling had distinctive odors and were hardly "unscented" while consumers based their purchasing decisions on misleading labels.

Among the brands named in the lawsuit as containing fragrance: Arm & Hammer, Secret, Dry Idea, Ban, Mitchum. The companies named as defendants include Church & Dwight (CHD), Procter & Gamble (PG), Dial, Henkel (HENKY) and Revlon (REV).

Ingredients That Smell

The lawsuit filed by Philadelphia lawyer Mark L. Rhoades accuses the companies of sealing the products so well that no consumer could tell at the store the deodorants are scented. The labeling, however, states that there is no scent even though the ingredients include chemicals with fragrances, according to the lawsuit.

As an example, the lawsuit noted that Secret Outlast includes "fragrance" on its ingredients list. Arm & Hammer Essentials contains "citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil", "anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil", "coriandrum sativum (coriander) fruit oil" and "pelargonium graveolens geranium) flower oil." That all adds up to an unmistakable citrus odor, the lawsuit alleged.

Because each purchase is relatively inexpensive, the lawsuit maintains that individual consumers, for the most part, don't bother going back to a store to seek a refund after realizing their "unscented" deodorants have a scent. So, the lawsuit is being brought on behalf of anyone who has purchased one of these deodorants that claims to be unscented while having a distinct odor.

The lawsuit -- Melissa Fogarty v. Church & Dwight et al., case number 3:14-cv-07086 -- was filed in New Jersey, where Church & Dwight, which makes Arm & Hammer products, is located. The manufacturers are accused of violating the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and consumer protection laws in the other states.

Does your unscented deodorant have a distinct smell?
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