Baldness Ads Not Deceptive, Judge Rules
A company that launched its hair restoration remedy in Sacramento five years ago
has beaten back attempts by the U.S. Postal Service to put it our of business.
A federal judge in Reno ruled that advertising claims for the mail-order product are not misleading.
In additional, wrote Judge Bruce Thompson, "It is also troublesome that the USPS has spent a great deal of time and taxpayers' money protecting consumers from a product which has generated no complaints, is not harmful to users and which appears to help some sufferers of male pattern baldness."
The company is California Pacific Research, now of Reno, which markets products under the name New Generation.
"We're elated," company president Bob Murphy said Wednesday. "Now a judge says there's proof that New Generation can work."
Government attorneys filed their complaint in 1981 based on a New Generation advertisement in The Sacramento Bee. They claimed deceptive advertising was being used because the product wouldn't grow hair. The government won in administrative hearings but lost in federal court when Judge Thompson handed down his opinion Jan. 10. New Generation products include both a scalp conditioner and a shampoo. A three-month supply costs $39.95.
Murphy claims that at least 60 percent of the people who use it experience at least some hair growth. For those who don't get results, the products come with a money-back guarantee.
In the last year, Murphy said he's had sales in all 50 staes and Europe. About 14 percent of the purchasers requested and got their money back, Murphy said.
The products are made by a Berkeley labratory based on a formula developed in Finland, by the University of Helsinki. The active ingrediant is a non-toxic substance which is used, to a lesser degree, in salad dressings, bread dough and cold creams. Normally, it's added as an emulsifier to aid in the mixing of water and oil in a product.
Murphy started the business in his mother's south Sacramento home. In the beginning, he gave it free to nearly a hundred balding people. The included doctors, health specialists, police officers and legislators.
After a year of use, most reportedly said 20 percent to 80 percent of their bald areas were growing hair.
Judge Thompson found "no evidence of loss or injury" to consumers after five years of use. "It is undisputed that all conusmers who are unhappy with New Generation receive a full refund of their purchase price," he said.