False Advertising Class Action Lawsuit: How To Get Your Airborne Refund

Yesterday we mentioned that the makers of Airborne had reached a tentative settlement over claims that it falsely represented its product as a “miracle cold buster,” by citing a study done by a research firm that ABCNews describes as “a two-man operation started up just to do the Airborne study. There was no clinic, no scientists and no doctors.”

The NYT says:

Oprah Winfrey, Howard Stern, Kevin Costner and other stars endorse the product, and the teacher-inventor has appeared on the “Dr. Phil” and “Live With Regis and Kelly” television shows and others, chattering away about Airborne’s benefits.

The company does not admit wrongdoing, but if you want your refund you can have it. Here are some instructions to help you get your money:

To file online:

Go to AirborneHealthSettlement.com

If you’d like to file by mail:

Download a claim form and submit it by September 15, 2008 to
Airborne Class Action Settlement Administrator
P.O. Box 1897
Faribault, MN 55021-7152

You may also call: 1-888-952-9080

The settlement says:

If you are unable to provide proof of purchase, you will be entitled to reimbursement for the average retail price of $6.99 per box of Airborne Health Formula, $2.75 per box for Gummi, $10.50 per box of Seasonal, and $6.99 per box for the remaining Airborne Products, for up to six (6)Airborne Product packages.

Makers of Airborne Settle False-Ad Suit With Refunds [NYT]
Airborne Health Settlement

Comments

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  1. Bay State Darren says:

    Airborne refund? They’re going to throw the money aloft to me?

  2. badgeman46 says:

    Seems like every week I get class action claim forms in my mailbox. Are companies getting more crooked?

  3. Meg Marco says:
  4. johnarlington says:

    Don’t forget that doctors don’t recommend using this product because the high levels of vitamin A and C are bad for your liver and kidneys. Not to mention no clinical evidence that it does any thing…. at all.

    My aunt is alway trying to shove this crap at me when ever I travel.

  5. Copper says:

    Whoa, so even without proof you actually bought their ridiculous product, you can get in on this?

  6. AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

    @badgeman46: What list are you on that you get all these claim forms? The only place I hear about this stuff is on the consumerist.

  7. Falconfire says:

    @AbsoluteIrrelevance: If you register for a product and it ends up having a class action on it, legally the company is supposed to give your information to the plaintiff so that they can contact you.

  8. xoxor says:

    I figured with the six “freebies” + what I’d purchased I’d get back about $120+ bucks (I’ve saved all my receipts for the past 2 years for reasons I won’t go into here…) I’m not sure whether or not the stuff worked, but others in my family liked it and I’d pay 6-7 bucks to *possibly* not get a flu or cold…

    There is no way we’re going to see any money out of this. If you read the fine print — there is, at some level after attorneys fees, court fees, ass fees, etc… after which only undefined charities will receive any money.

    Only the attorneys win on this one…

  9. Bay State Darren says:

    The only problem with claiming this refund is it requires you to admit that you actually thought Airborne was effective and worth spend your own money on. I don’t think I’d be willing to sell my dignity like that for $10.50.

    My dignity usually costs at least twelve bucks [Unless it’s coming in the form of food, then it’s practically free.]

  10. veronykah says:

    I always thought this stuff was BS…why are so many people so uninformed about stuff like this. Just yesterday I had someone preaching to me about airborne, vitamin c and echinacea [no clue how to spell that one].
    I’ve used airborne when someone offered it to me…beacaus the orange one TASTES good…no to “prevent” a cold.

  11. simonkapo says:

    Re@xoxor: actually, the charities will only get paid AFTER everyone who registers for the class action gets their full “refund” back, and not vice versa.

    and while it is true that attorneys get the lions share of the settlement on most class actions, its not costing you any money to finance their lawsuit (which is very important in the event that they’re unsuccessful)… the alternative is actually paying the attorneys as the lawsuit proceeds, and if that was the case, i doubt that many people would even bother signing up for this class action and Airborne would continue to market an ineffective product.

  12. garden37 says:

    After three weeks of feeling sick, better for a few days and then sick again, instead of asking the doctor for antibiotics, I tried Airborne, took it twice a day for 6 days…I felt so much better after the second day and remained feeling better. In the meantime, I had a child at home that was sick with the flu and cold for over a week.. I NEVER caught it. I believe this worked great for me. I have used both Echinacea and Zinc in the past, and it neither of those helped me…they just prolonged things, I eventually go sick. With Airborne, I felt better after three weeks of feeling sick, and remained better. I think these lawsuits are just people looking for money.. This is a herbal supplement, and probably has different effects on different people. Just like a prescription..but actually safer and more effective for me. My only side effect was increased appetite for a few days. It worked great for me. I didnt file lawsuit against the Zinc lozenge companies or the makers of Echinacea..the two didn’t help me any. But AIRBORNE HELPED ME !!!

  13. homeskillet81 says:

    @garden37…. it only works because you think it works …just like most people start feeling better from tylenol minutes after taking it even though it takes forever to actually start working…how do they refer to this …uhhh..err… perhaps the placebo effect :P

  14. lesbiansayswhat says:

    I filled out the form knowing I ate the stuff during college because of the claims and the fact that every drugstore (even small locally-owned co-ops) carried them. I got sick anyway like usual but assumed that’s the way things go. I guess you really can’t trust decent tasting ‘medicines’. In the FAQ’s it reminds you that the settlement hasn’t even been approved yet..that is due to come in June of this year. And then it lets you no that there will probably be appeals filed by the company and that appeals sometimes take years. Ah well, at least I don’t live on an oil-covered coast in Alaska.

  15. lesbiansayswhat says:

    *know

  16. Bay State Darren says:

    At least Enzyte lied to us about medical benefits with somewhat-amusing commercials. Now where’s that settlement refund? Not that I would use something like that… or ever feel that I should…

  17. wallspray says:

    It appears as written that anyone can get $63 dollars from this settlement, even without receipts, but the copy on this site has mislead many readers before. Is this correct?

  18. So the “scientific study” that started all this bru-ha-ha included no science? Figures.

  19. Amy Alkon says:

    With Airborne, I felt better after three weeks of feeling sick,

    As the saying goes, “The plural of anecdote is not data.”

  20. Coder4Life says:

    sooo.. does it work or not? I dno’t really care if no trials were done, but is it suppose to work? b/ I bought a bunch of this stuff.

    If it doesn’t work I will file, if it does work then I will not file.

    It is misleading the way they advertised it but if it actually works then I am OK with it.

  21. JeffM says:

    Too bad it tastes SOOO good. I think I have a problem, I like to eat the tablets- kidney/liver damage and all!! :(

  22. shoegazer says:

    My wife brought some home after a flight to Dallas. Hey, it’s like orange alka seltzer. It settles my sinuses and stomach; that’s about it.

  23. Major-General says:

    @johnarlington: Funny, the high levels of A and C aren’t a problem if you’re drinking the correct amount of water.

    Sounds to me like you’re dehydrated.

  24. mac-phisto says:

    @Major-General: hmm…i was taught that you want to avoid high doses of ADEKs. doesn’t overdosing on A cause liver damage?

    also, for the pedantics out there – is it “a herbal supplement” or “an herbel supplement”? this always bothered me.

  25. Me - now with more humidity says:

    Actually, it would be “an herbAl supplement” ;-)

  26. Death says:

    This stuff *seems* to have worked for me on several occasions, and I was initially very sceptical so I doubt it was any kind of placebo effect.

  27. acasto says:

    It always amuses me how some people put their noses up in the air and act as though they’re superior because they don’t take stuff like this. Or emphasize that they just do it for the taste! I mean, WTF is up with that? Who cares? Do you really think if you don’t take Airborne and point out a few mis-spellings someone somewhere will worship you or something?

    As to this products effectiveness, I’ve never taken it myself, but wouldn’t doubt that it helps in certain situations. There are many different “bugs” out there and people get sick for different reasons. It’s not beyond belief that some people get run down and sick for reasons that something like this could help with.

  28. Charybdis says:

    I just mentioned this to my coworkers knowing full well that they would completely discount the negative publicity and stick by their assertions that it works as advertised. I was not disappointed.

  29. cerbie says:

    @Coder4Life: it may work. It appears to contain good stuff…on top of all that sugar. But, you can get good brands of supplements cheaper, that will work as good or better. You are paying a whole lot to basically get a little vitamin C and A, and a touch of other stuff included in good multivitamins.

    The problem is they said they tested it, and had proof it worked, so that they would sell a decent amount of it. They fabricated that bit.

    So, it may still work (or not), but they deserve a worse punishment–such is the nature of the class action lawsuit.

    @mac-phisto:
    [en.wikipedia.org]
    So, yes|no. But then, [en.wikipedia.org] (get to the WHO part).

  30. drharris says:

    I think it works just fine, but if you already take a multivitamin, you’re likely already getting the proper levels of vitamins each day without risking liver or kidney damage. My advice is to pay for a good multivitamin, and to get Vitamin C tablets. The combination of those two keep me from getting flu or colds every winter, and I fly a lot and am around children often. Still have allergy problems, but at least I don’t have to worry about the dangerous stuff.

  31. Kevmas says:

    I’ve never understood why someone would believe it worked. The whole selling point is that the product was invented by a teacher. I would think someone with an educational background in pharmaceuticals could do better. Plus what did this teacher have access to that we don’t? It’s not as if they have access to new drugs, they’re a teacher for crying out loud.

    It just seems like another miracle pill that does nothing but relieve you of some of your cash. When you have something to the tune of “This product has not been proven to treat or cure any illness” on the side of the bottle, a red flag should pop up.

  32. mrwilson says:

    I think that the point here is not so much whether the product “worked” or not, but whether the Airborne folks lied about its testing, trials, etc. when they marketed the product. Since it’s settling for way, way more than nuisance value, that’s as good as an admission in my book.

    Also, this is just a great settlement. Besides forcing the company to market more honestly (and acting as a deterrent to other companies who would try to lie in their advertising and get away with it), these lawyers also got cold cash out of this company, to the tune of $23 million, and claimants need not even show proof of purchase to get money. (Although I’m a plaintiff’s class action lawyer, I had nothing to do with this case.) Kudos to them.

    Falconfire, it’s not true that companies necessarily have to turn over their customer lists to the class action plaintiff in a settlement. Only the “best practicable notice” to class members is required. Sometimes that might be first class mail to everybody, but sometimes it might be mere “publication notice” on a website, a few national newspapers, etc. The cost of the notice is weighed against the benefits to be received by class members under whatever the terms of the settlement might be.

    lesbiansayswhat, there won’t be any appeal by the company. The company has settled. The appeals, if any, will be from any class member who objects to the settlement, but whose objection is overruled by the trial court and the settlement finally approved.

  33. stuny says:

    Considering the claims of how Enzyte can help you, wouldn’t “Airborne” be a much better name for THEIR product? :) @BayStateDarren:

  34. AMetamorphosis says:

    I filed claims for our family because we do buy this product.

    Regardless of the Class Action Lawsuit, we firmly believe these help us.

    Class Action Lawsuits have become the Lotteries of the new age.

  35. atljm says:

    The Bryant Park project interviewed the man who brought the class action. They’re getting tons of backlash from folks who swear by Airborne and seem to be missing the boat on truth in advertising.
    [www.npr.org]

  36. mmauk says:

    I just want to warn everyone that is taking Ariborne of it’s toxic affects…literally! I took Airborne quit a bit as I felt like several others did…that it seemed to work for me. Then, one morning, I got really sick, suffered from migraine headaches and starting losing my vision and was diagnosed with Vitamin A toxicity, with pseudotumor cerebri. It is not a fun diagnosis and I am looking for ways to warn others about the bad affects of Airborne. It has 5 times the amount of Vitamin A you should consume on a daily basis in one tablet. So if you follow the directions like I did. You take one tablet every 4 hours while your symptoms persist. I am looking for anyone else who got deadly sick from this condition. I’ve undergone spinal taps, CAT scans, MRI’s and MRA’s because of this wonderful stuff. So just a warning to those out there…..if I could do it over again, I would have never taken it!!

  37. ctaylor721 says:

    Some info that may be useful. You don’t necessarily need a receipt, although if you do have one, you can claim up to six different product purchases. The deadline for making claims is 9/15. Amusingly, you can also join the suit in FAVOR of Airborne; if you do, however, you can’t benefit from the refund. See more at, Airborne Refunds. Basically, why not? It’s free money.

  38. Softnesss says:

    I used to stay sick all the time. I would have strep throat at least once a month, along with my “in-between” monthly sinus infections, ear aches, and twice or three times a year flu. I started taking airborne 2 years ago, and have not had one single illness during these past two years thanks to airborne. I take it faithfully once a day, and if I’m around someone who I know is sick, I take an extra one that day. I stand behind airborne faithfully. It has been a lifesaver for me!

  39. gomichaelkgo says:

    I just got an audit letter for claiming a refund online. Did anybody get this as well?

  40. charm1inwa says:

    they rejected my claim stating that walmart didnt carry airborne at the date I bought it, which I did buy it there, so they are not paying me…bogus!!!

  41. LUV2CattleCall says:

    But I like Airborne….much like the Ionic Breeze, Bose products, or anything shilled by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Paul Harvey, or Billy Mays, it’s an amazing Idiot Beacon!

  42. RedwoodFlyer says:

    Just got my $63 check in the mail…thanks Consumerist!

  43. bigroblee says:

    I just received $30. Thanks!