The Swedish Market Court (Marknadsdomstolen) has ruled in favour of the country’s consumer ombudsman (Konsumentombudsmannen, KO), which welcomed the verdict.
“The verdict is a great success and a guide for all companies that market beauty creams. It has now become clearer what one cannot claim either in writing or through images in advertising,” Agneta Broberg, deputy consumer ombudsman said in a statement on Wednesday.
In addition, the court said it would fine L’Oréal Sweden 1 million kronor ($143,000) if it does not comply with the ruling and ordered L’Oréal to pay 226,400 kronor in KO’s legal costs, of which 181,400 kronor concerned fees, in addition to interest from the date of the verdict until payment is made.
KO took L’Oréal Sweden to court last spring. The case concerned two ads for so-called beauty creams.
In one for Lancôme High Résolution, a “Dr. Ruggiero” attests that the cream will smooth out wrinkles by 70 percent within a month and reduce wrinkles “with laser speed.” In another ad for Vichy LiftActiv Pro, the spot alleged that the cream would cause a reduction or complete disappearance of wrinkles.
KO charged that L’Oréal markets products in a misleading and exaggerated way. The verdict handed down by the court sided with KO and deemed the company’s advertising misleading.
Companies are subjected to particularly high demands when it comes to using medical arguments in their ads. However, the courts have never previously tried cases involving cosmetic products. KO referred to medical experts and previous convictions in the Market Court in this case.