Sleeping on the wrong pillow can make you pretty miserable, but that doesn’t mean that sleeping on the right pillow is a magical medical treatment. MyPillow, a $90 pillow that could be yours if you ordered it from direct-response television ads, has had some legal problems ranging from false advertising to knowing failure to collect sales tax to class action suits.
Truth in Advertising has been on the pillow’s case for most of the last year, and consumer protection officials in California have come to a settlement with the company over accusations of false advertising. Turns out that you can’t make unfounded claims about how a pillow treats actual medical problems.
Here are MyPillow’s recent legal troubles, which either have had or will have real-life financial consequences for the company. For some perspective, the company has reportedly sold four million pillows, though.
April 12, 2013: Early investors claimed that they owned part of the company in a lawsuit.
April 26, 2013: Computerworld reported a complex issue between Salesforce and MyPillow involving a software contract and a $125,000 AmEx bill.
Aug. 17, 2016: MyPillow settles with New York state for $1.1 million over the company’s alleged failure to collect and remit sales tax for purchases by customers in that state.
Oct. 13, 2016: Proposed settlement of $5 per household in a class action lawsuit for false advertising which accuses MyPillow of, among other things, billing the company’s founder and CEO as a “sleep expert” when he has no special medical training, and claiming that the pillows are good for medical conditions like fibromyalgia, insomnia, and sleep apnea.
Nov. 1, 2016: In a settlement with district attorneys in California, MyPillow has to pay $995,000 in civil penalties and donate $100,000 to domestic violence and homeless shelters. The company didn’t admit any wrongdoing, but agreed to stop making health claims not supported by scientific proof, and must remove the “The Official Pillow of the National Sleep Foundation!” endorsement on its website, since it failed to disclose the financial link with the Sleep Foundation.
The settlement means that the company is barred from making health claims about its pillows… in California.
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