SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A San Diego woman is taking legal action against a trendy hair product company, claiming it caused her severe hair loss and bald spots. She’s not alone. Women around the country are claiming similar effects. They blame their hair care nightmares on Monat Global, based in Florida.
“It’s been so hard,” says San Diego’s Dana Sohovich. She held back tears as she spoke exclusively with 10News about her experience. Sohovich has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging it falsely promised her “longer, fuller, stronger” hair. Her suit accuses Monat of “false and deceptive advertising”.
“I literally had almost a baseball size [ball] of hair in my hand,” she tells us, adding, “It's devastating.”
Temecula’s Ashley Slayden showed us her daughter’s scalp. “You can see the bald spots [on] her head. You can see how thin it is. It was never that thin,” she adds. Slayden tells us she and her kids starting using the product in the fall. “I bought it at wholesale and I spent seventy dollars,” she adds. As of now, Slayden has not filed suit against the company.
Other women have shared pictures of scalp sores, breakage and clumps of fallen strands.
A mother in Canada shared images of her two-year-old son’s abrupt hair loss, including a doctor’s diagnosis tying it directly to Monat shampoo.
Erin Ostby used the product but also sold it as a “market partner” on the company’s multi-level marketing platform. “I was vacuuming every day because I was losing so much hair and I think I was in denial. I didn't want to believe it was the product,” she says.
Multiple women say they went to their doctors, and there was nothing pointing to a reason, other than product use. Many consumers who complained were told it was normal and part of a detox process that was documented in the company’s own sales literature. “We no longer do that. We don’t do it,” said Monat Spokesperson Gene Grabowski during a taped phone interview.
Grabowski said all the complaints don’t add up. “To have this happen in such a short period of time, statistically is impossible,” he added.
The FDA is assessing around 200 adverse event reports. About 500 complaints are on file with the BBB in Southern Florida, where Monat is based.
Grabowski stated, “There’s nothing in the products that would cause this kind of reaction on a large population. There just isn't. You can rub it in your skin. You can drink it if you like [but] within reason. It's not going to cause this kind of reaction.”
It’s a company that reports it made more than 200 million dollars last year. It claims it’s now the target of a smear campaign and says it’s suing some of its bullies. “We have to do that to protect ourselves from defamation,” Grabowski added.
Sohovich fears there could be a fight but ultimately decided to speak out. “If I can share my story and prevent one person from going through what I've been through then I've done some good,” she adds.
The statement below was sent to 10News this week on behalf of Monat President Stuart MacMillan:
“Unfortunately, MONAT is being forced to use litigation to stop defamatory attacks on Market Partners who are the real victims of the falsehoods and online bullying. These attacks are aimed at damaging the livelihoods of thousands of Market Partners and their families who have safely and successfully served their customers across the United States and Canada.”
“MONAT products are safe and that there is no scientific or other factual basis for the claims that have been made. MONAT’s products have undergone independent, clinical testing, and millions of consumers safely use the products every day.”
“As with any consumer product, some people may develop adverse reactions. When that is the case, they should stop using the product and report their reaction to the company. But going to the media and trying to make it appear like there is something wrong with a product in order to damage the livelihoods of so many good people is just wrong.”