Press Release, Hagens Berman
March 17, 2004
A customer today filed a lawsuit against the maker of the popular herbal male enhancement product Enzyte on behalf of purchasers, accusing the company of using false and deceptive advertisements with phony statistics to lure tens of thousands of men into purchasing its supplement. Filed in Montgomery County Court in Ohio by attorneys from Hagens Berman and Murdock Goldenberg Schneider & Groh, the suit claims Enzyte manufacturer Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals built a $100 million business that preyed on men using unproven claims. Once the class-action suit is certified by the court, it would represent Enzyte purchasers across the country.
“The ads made repeated unsubstantiated claims with the intention of drawing out and using men’s insecurities,” said John Murdock, one of the attorneys representing consumers against Berkeley. “In our opinion the primary effect Enzyte had on its users was to shrink the size of their wallets.”
Currently running a national advertising campaign using innuendos and a silent ‘Smiling Bob’ spokesperson, Berkeley earlier marketed Enzyte in a nationwide multi-media campaign with claims that the product would actually increase the size of a man’s genitalia. Some of the claims from ads in magazines such as Esquire and Gentlemen’s Quarterly include:
- “The first all-natural male enhancement program that adds one to three inches to your size in just eight months or get double your money back”
- “100% Safe with a 98.3% Success Rate”
- “…your erectile chambers, as well as your penis, will enlarge up to 41%”
When customers tried to take advantage of Berkeley’s ‘double your money back’ guarantee, the company sent out confusing and deceptive materials that encouraged customers to waive their right to collect the refund, the suit claims.
“We will prove Berkeley depended on the embarrassment of men and complicated return policies to keep the number of refunds low and the amount of profits high,” said Murdock. “In my opinion, this is perhaps the most cynical scheme to defraud consumers I’ve seen.”
According to consumer groups. including the Better Business Bureau, Berkeley generates a high number of complaints.
The Federal Trade Commission has also called into question treatments like Enzyte. According to the agency’s Web site, “If the product being pitched to cure impotence is “herbal” or “all natural,” dismiss it.”
In a recent interview, Berkeley’s founder and chief executive officer Steven Warshak admitted that the company withdrew its claims that Enzyte added inches to a man’s penis because no third-party independent trials were conducted to substantiate the claim. In fact, in an about-face, its own Web site now admits, “Enzyte will not alter the shape or size of your penis.”
In 2001, the plaintiff paid $400 for an eight-month supply of Enzyte, and received more assurances from Berkeley that “most men report a one- to three-inch gain in length and 27% increase in roundness,” according to the complaint. He completed the supply without any increase in genital size, and after many months of trying to receive his ‘double your money back’ guarantee, only received a portion of the promised refund.
According to attorneys, even Berkeley’s current claims of “fuller, firmer, better quality erections” continue to imply that Enzyte increases penis size, perpetuating Berkeley’s deception of consumers. The suit seeks to represent all those who purchased Enzyte, including those purchasers to whom the company claimed that the supplement increases penis size, except residents of California. Consumers seek class action status, reimbursement for purchases of Enzyte and damages. The suit claims Berkeley and other defendants violated Ohio’s consumer protection laws, as well as laws against negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and fraud. [End of news release]
For Additional Information
- David Parker v. Berkeley Neutraceuticals, Inc: Class-action suit, filed March 2004.
- Enzyte maker under fire. Cincinnati Post, Aug 14, 2004.
- Cincinnati Better Business Bureau Report on Berkeley Premium Pharmaceuticals: Unsatisfactory rating “due to a pattern of complaints concerning billing issues as well as unanswered and unresolved complaints.”
- Center for Science in the Public Interest asks FTC to curb misleading “sex aid” ads. CSPI news release, Sept 22, 2004.
- Sex in a Bottle; The Hard Sell: CSPI’s Nutrition Action, October 2004.
- Problems found with most sexual enhancement products tested by ConsumerLab.com. ConsumerLab press release, Sept 24, 2002.
- FTC action against Impulse Female Herbal Blend and Maximus Male Herbal Blend. FTC News release, August 27, 2004.
This page was posted on September 29, 2004.