The roll-on version of a crystal body deodorant that caught attention because of its natural rock form doesn't pass the smell test.
At least, that is what the product's founder claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that says beginning in 2010 the Georgia manufacturer bottled products that could not be sold because they develop "a nasty, offensive, totally unpalatable odor."
The suit by Burlingame-based French Transit LTD., the company that founded and distributes the Crystal Body Deodorant products, claims that customers have compared the odor to vomit, aging cheese, bug repellent and a dirty sock. The scent did not appear for several months or years after the date of manufacturing and bottle but French Transit was forced to issue refunds and new products to avoid losing customers, the suit states.
The manufacturer, Bioanue Laboratories, acknowledged the odor problem and conducted tests but couldn't locate the cause, according to the suit filed in San Mateo County Superior Court.
A message left with a Bioanue representative did not solicit a reply from the company. Andrew Fagan, attorney for French Transit, said the company has no further comment on the lawsuit.
In fiscal year 2010, French Transit lost nearly 10 percent in overall sales of the Crystal Deodorant Roll-On and was forced to find a new supplier to manufacture the products.
French Transit is also suing Bioanue and DSMC, the previous company which it purchased, for components valued at approximately $45,714.68 which the company claims it owns but were not returned after the businesses parted ways.
The suit also seeks no less than $350,000 in damages.
The crystal body products in question date back to 1984 when Jerry Rosenblatt, president of French Transit, learned of a mineral product used to purify water and began using it as an all-natural deodorant. The original product, known as Le Crystal Naturel, became known for its "rock" shape and the same formula was subsequently used in spray and roll-on forms.
The products are made by Bioanue in Rochelle, Ga. and shipped either directly to consumers or to French Transit in Burlingame for retail distribution.
The suit claims the company's website averages nearly 300,000 hits a year and Crystal products are sold in approximately 50,000 stores worldwide. The products are marketed to those seeking natural personal care without animal testing or chemical additives and are prescribed by physicians, the suit states.
A case management conference is scheduled for July 16.
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