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Breaking News – WA State AG Sues 5-Hour Energy for Consumer Protection Violations

5-Hour Energy driver Clint Boyer spins out at Richmond
(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

You have to be living in a cave not to have seen their ads on TV. (#15 car is 5-Hour Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Car).

For a number of years now, 5-Hour Energy has proclaimed to give people a ‘natural’ lift without the harsh additives of many energy drinks,  and says it contains small amounts of caffeine.   One of their biggest marketing points is that doesn’t leave consumers with that “crash” or letdown often associated with other energy products.

However, Friday, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the company. A statement from the AB’s office read in part:

“Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit today against the makers of 5-hour ENERGY®, the popular energy drink. The AGO alleges they misled consumers with ads claiming that doctors recommend 5-hour ENERGY®, by implying the product is safe for teenagers and claiming that the product causes ‛no sugar crash’ when the companies’ own study showed it triggers a caffeine crash.

“We believe the ‘energy’ provided by 5-hour ENERGY® products is derived solely from caffeine, not from vitamins and amino acids as their ads claim,” said Ferguson. “In addition, we believe the ‘energy blend’ does nothing and the ‘no sugar crash’ statement is misleading. I will not stand by and see Washington consumers subjected to deceptive advertising.”

Ferguson is not the only AG looking into this.  He is one of 30 State’s Attorney Generals who have either filed suit, or are investigating the company’s claims.   The suit, filed in King County Superior Court, accuses 5-Hour Energy of violating the Consumer Protection Act in the following ways (among others listed as well).

  • Running a television commercial that featured ‘survey results’ from doctors who ‘recommend’ 5-hour ENERGY® while misrepresenting survey results and failing to disclose key facts;
  • Using a ‘no sugar crash’ product tagline that is misleading in light of studies showing a caffeine crash;
  • Implying that 5-hour ENERGY® is suitable for teens by stating on the product label, “Do not take if you are pregnant or nursing, or under 12 years of age”;
  • Representing that the ‘energy blend’ in 5-hour ENERGY® provides ‘energy’ when it is believed the ‘energy’ is derived solely from the caffeine in the product;

The lawsuit seeks restitution for WA state consumers of the product,  attorney and court costs and fees, Civil penalties, and a permanent injunction preventing further deceptive marketing practices.

As of this breaking news, no comment has been issued by the company.

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