• Tue, Jun 10 - 12:19 pm ET

Jessica Alba’s Company Is In Pretty Big Trouble For Selling Shady Baby Products (Updated)

Jessica Alba crying GIF(via)

I don’t know if you guys knew this, but Jessica Alba founded a company called ‘The Honest Company’, a name that’s pretty ripe with irony now that they’re being investigated by the Better Business Bureau.

It’s a combination home goods company and lifestyle brand that was started two years ago and it set to launch at Target stores nationwide next week, which is pretty crappy timing considering that they just had their accreditation revoked “by BBB’s Board of Directors due to failure to respond to one or more customer complaints filed with the BBB.” There have been nine complaints logged since March 10th, 2013, and they cover a variety of topics from advertising and sales issues, business and collection issues, and five with the product and service itself.

As Radar Online points out, six of those issues were resolved via assistance from the Bureau, one was not resolved to the customer’s satisfaction (so…not resolved, right? how is it resolved if someone’s still unhappy?), and two were never addressed at all by The Honest Company. Whoopsies! In deciding to remove their accreditation, the BBB says they took into account the fact that the business has only been operating for two years, and has already accumulated three unresolved complaints. Those aren’t great odds, and they’ve been enough to give the company a C- rating at present.

And this isn’t even the first time that The Honest Company has drawn scrutiny from the BBB. They first drew attention to themselves last fall when they made it known they’d be working with foreign factories moving forward, including some in China, like American Hygienics Corporation. AHC is one of The Honest Company’s main suppliers, and they’ve been banned from importing to the United States twice after FDA inspectors found ‘unsafe’ drugs in their shipments.

WHOOPS. Maybe this has nothing to do with Jessica, but if you’re a celebrity and you sign your name onto a product (especially if you aren’t doing much acting right now), you better be damn sure it’s not the kind of company that’s being accused of using unsafe materials in their baby wipes.

[Correction: We received a note from the American Hygienics Corporation, "The article in question referenced products we manufactured for a pet care brand over 5 years ago. In speaking with representatives from this brand we learned that the FDA flagged the initial shipment of two pet products to labeling compliance issues, not for any healthy, safety or ingredient quality concerns related to the composition of the product itself. Upon adjusting the labels to meet the FDA requirement the product was approved for import and the pet care company has marketed and sold these products successfully in the US to this day. To be clear, the focus of the FDA was solely on the pet care brand's marketing claims on their labels, not for the product itself. AHC has never been warned, banned or restricted by the FDA, and never been banned from doing business in the US from any government or other organization."]

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  • JenH1986

    Not defending the company because that’s all messed up, but something can “not be resolved to the customer’s satisfaction” because what the customer wants is “all their money back plus free stuff for my trouble” or “I want this company shut down for good!” So it’s possible. Lots of companies will bend over backwards to fix BBB complaints but some people are just assholes and unless they get the company in the deal they aren’t happy.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      Yeah, touche.

  • LadyClodia

    Remember when Kathie Lee got in trouble because of the sweat shops making her clothing line? She managed to turn that around, and she still gets to get drunk with Hoda every morning, so things didn’t work out too badly for her. I imagine Jessica Alba’s situation will be similar. I was surprised to see that Costco switched out their Huggies diapers for Honest Co. ones at the store we frequent, though.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      I just hope she gets it together if they’re gonna keep selling. Skating on the celebrity name thing can’t end well.

    • JenH1986

      I wonder how much she is *actually* involved with the company. If she’s just the figure head she needs to send her people in to make heads roll because not answering customer complaints is lazy. If she actually shows up she needs to make heads roll and choose better employees.

    • Alexis Rhiannon

      She does seem to show up! I was looking at her Instagram, and she takes selfies in the office a lot.

    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Judging from her acting career, she does seem to have plenty of time on her hands to deal with this stuff. Too bad she ain’t doing it.

    • Isabelle

      She founded the company and it looks as though she’s there on a regular basis.

    • JenH1986

      Then shame on her for allowing this to happen. I would have more sympathy if she was not there and less involved.

    • LadyClodia

      Oh, yes, she definitely need to get this all sorted out. Like you said, since she put her name on the company it she needs to know what’s going on with it.

  • Isabelle

    Jessica Alba actually started this company pretty much from the ground up with another man who I believe is a doctor of some sort. She said she did it because she always had allergies as a kid and was shocked and appalled by what’s in our products. After reading her books it was the first time I realized our beauty products could make us sick. But I find all of this very disappointing, her company seems very honest and genuine. But it makes me wonder, do the regular products get reported or investigated too? I think they should. There is seriously carcinogens in everything.

    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Don’t get pulled in just because she’s a celeb. They’re all in business to make a buck.

    • Isabelle

      Well I was trying to say now I know how dishonest the products really are. But to quote the great Stephen Colbert if I could, “cynicism is the opposite of knowledge”.

    • FemelleChevalier

      “Trust can be as dangerous as cynicism. The first one can impose a feeling of vulnerability while the other can result in narrow-mindedness. Critical thinking is how one further one’s knowledge, while healthy doses of trust and/or cynicism are the keys to proper social interactions.”

    • Isabelle

      I think cynical people are really pessimists disgusted as realists. skeptism is important, not cynicism.

    • FemelleChevalier

      You need to be skeptical and cynical to protect yourself, but living your life that way is not healthy either. Balance is important.

      My point is that “cynicism is the opposite of knowledge” is too faulty to hold as an idealism.

    • Isabelle

      But it the opposite of knowledge. To me it’s assuming you know more than others and can see through all the other bullsh!t without even opening up to the idea that not everything is automatically negative.

  • Elizabeth Aspen

    And you just know this junk she’s selling is being made by child slaves in underdeveloped nations. Really “honest”.

  • Sara610

    We actually have some Honest diapers and wipes, but we don’t use them often because we’ve noticed our daughter gets a bad diaper rash every time we do. (And I realize that correlation =/= causation, but we’ve gone back to Luvs for the last few weeks and she’s been diaper-rash free). I did have a negative experience trying to get an issue resolved through customer service–I did eventually get it resolved, but it took way more phone calls and far more time and headache than it should have, considering it was a pretty simple issue.

  • Nbl

    This company sucks and you should see what they’re trying to do to the owner of the Honest Toddler blog. Disgusting.

    • Guest

      What are they trying to do?

    • footnotegirl

      They’ve been trying to bully her into giving up her title, etc. Using very shady and nasty means. It’s been going on for a while.

    • Isabelle

      But what are they doing? How are the bullying? There was also another company with the Honest name, a children’s juice company there didn’t seem to be any bullying rumored to be involved

    • footnotegirl

      Well, first off, the Honest Tea company is owned by Coca Cola, and THC wasn’t about to take THEM on. But Bunmi is just a little author/blogger. They sent her a very threatening cease and desist letter, then pulled back after there was an uproar, saying it was all a mistake, giving her free diapers to give away on her blog, etc, and then a few months later started with the lawyers calling her with very shake-down language. Since posting links is a great way to make sure that a Disqus reply never gets through moderation, please, feel free to google the words bunmi laditan honest company timeline.

  • Jennie Blair

    I’ve yet to even consider their products because the commerical rubs me the wrong way, plus for how much their diapers cost I’ll just stick to cloth with “cute diapers” that I don’t throw in the trash.

  • MellyG

    Like JenH – not defending the company, but I work in consumer protection and product liability – the BBB is sort of a load of crap. Companies that treat their customers like crap (And legitimately don’t do things they are supposed to – like moving companies stealing money, and ya know, not moving stuff or ever showing up) get A ratings from the BBB if they PAY. Companies that refuse to pay get lower ratings. The BBB itself should be investigated, as they do little to resolve complaints against companies that “donate” enough.

  • AHC America

    I represent American Hygienics Corporation.

    There are multiple inaccuracies and misleading statements in this article that lead to a gross misrepresentation of the facts that we would like to clear up, especially as it pertains to The Honest Company.

    American Hygienics Corporation is a family owned company that has been in business since 2001 and manufactures a broad range of private label non-woven products for
    leading global brands in over 45 countries. We serve various industries, including medical, baby care, pet care, automotive, and others. Our health care products are used in some of the leading hospitals and medical centers around the globe. We hold the highest production and quality standards and maintain manufacturing in a state-of-the-art FDA compliant facility.

    We have the following global quality certifications and accreditations: cGMP, GMPc, ISO 9001 (all accredited by SGS, a leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification service), British Retail Consortium, and Nordic Swan.

    The article in question referenced products we manufactured for a pet care brand over 5 years ago. In speaking with representatives from this brand we learned that the FDA flagged the initial shipment of two pet products due to labeling compliance issues, not for any health, safety, or ingredient quality concerns related to composition of the product itself. Upon adjusting the labels to meet the FDA requirement the product was approved for import and the pet care company has continually marketed and sold these products successfully in the US to this day. To be clear, the focus of the FDA was solely on the pet care brand’s marketing claims on their labels, not for the product itself.

    AHC has never been warned, banned, or restricted by the FDA, and has never been banned from doing business in the US from any government or other organization. This blog article does not represent the truth and is an obvious attempt to undermine American Hygienics Corporation’s and The Honest Company’s reputations using misleading facts about a 3rd party’s importing history.

    We appreciate your understanding and support.

    American Hygienics Corp.

  • footnotegirl

    They also totally tried to bully Bunmi Laditan (aka The Honest Toddler blogger/author) mercilessly into giving up the title she’d had all along (a whole year after apparently being so okay with her that they tweeted about her themselves).

  • Diane A. Fiore

    Celebrities like Jessica Alba think they own the world!! You don’t I would never ever buy their products again!!