$23.3M Airborne Refund Settlement Details & Forms

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This has ended.

What happens when you make a product that promises to “boost your immune system” and ward off colds? You make a ton of money, if it actually boosts your immune system and wards off colds. When you make that promise and don’t actually do that, at least anymore than a sugar pill placebo, then you are called Airborne and you settle for $23.3 million for false advertising. I’ve never taken the stuff, mostly because it looks like a nasty orange mixture and because I didn’t believe it, but a lot of people did and if you are one of those people, you are entitled to a piece of the settlement.

If you did drink the stuff, you probably didn’t do your body any harm; the mixture was just a super-shot of Vitamin C along with some other goodness that was mostly likely expelled out of your body the next time you used the bathroom. In fact, Vitamin C is water soluble and you urinate out anything more than 100% the daily recommended value (so the extra 230948203483209% is pretty much useless). If you do feel a cold coming on, taking Vitamin C is not a bad idea but taking 2309428304923% will not help anymore than 100%. (Some other vitamins such as A, are fat soluble and thus not expelled in urine, and you can certainly overdose on those so be very careful!)

Anyway, if you bought an Airborne product between 01 May 2001 and 29 November 2007, then you qualify to file a claim against the settlement. If you have proofs of purchase (unlikely unless you are a serious receipt filer) then you can get a refund for everything you bought and stuff have a proof of purchase for. Otherwise, you can claim as many as six products in addition to the ones you have proof for. So, if you have a receipt for three boxes then you can make a claim for as many as nine (3 proofs plus 6 undocumented items). The only downside is that everyone and their mother is likely to make a claim since you can claim up to 6 items without proof, whether you bought it or not, so you will only get your piece after the $23.3MM has been divvied up.

The deadline to submit is 15 September 2008. If you opt to mail it in, it must be postmarked by September 15th.


{ 16 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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16 Responses to “$23.3M Airborne Refund Settlement Details & Forms”

  1. David says:

    I for one won’t be participating; seems like a stupid lawsuit designed to make lawyers money. The product doesn’t claim to cure a cold any more than vitamins say they will make you healthy – these things just help. Vitamins do play a roll in fighting off colds, so I don’t see what the problem with the product is. Basically, lawyers are going to make millions and customers get their $2.00 back. The lawsuits in this country keep getting sillier.

  2. That’s crazy! I was a huge fan of Airborne… well, the generic brand anyway. That’s too bad.

  3. jim says:

    David: While admirable, this lawsuit is already in the settlement phase (the judge needs to approve of the settlement), so you aren’t saving anyone anything if you already purchased the Airborne.

  4. David says:

    Oh I know, I just wanted to say my piece that I think it’s dumb. 🙂

  5. jim says:

    It is dumb but this type of thing stops other companies from doing things like Enzyte.

  6. mbhunter says:

    Not sure you’re right about the Vitamin C. That’s what I had thought too, but my chiropractor — by any stretch the healthiest guy I’ve met recently — said that your body will use what it needs. 100% RDA isn’t the same for everyone, every day. Taking in more than 100% doesn’t always mean that the excess is wasted.

  7. thomas says:

    vindication is mine! I can’t tell you how many times i’ve bashed this product as being nothing but snake oil. Yeah yeah, it has vitamins. Guess what else does – vitamins!

    And to the 100% statement mbhunter – I believe Jim was elaborating on the fact (see extra %). Sure, some people need more or less than the recommended amount, but at some point it becomes useless.

  8. jim says:

    Yeah, 2930482039432% will not help you anymore than 409582309%, but 105% and 95% are in the noise.

  9. Chris Taylor says:

    The toll free phone number to call to submit a claim is: 1-888-952-9080 . Perhaps worth noting that as a nutritional supplement, Airborne did not have the burden of proving that its products work (as other medicines do under FDA regulations). The lawsuit however was directed at Airborne’s false claims regarding its ability to prevent colds. Hope this was useful.


  10. kitty says:

    I’ve never used the stuff, don’t normally believe in medicine or vitamins unless there is actual evidence that it works.

    Amazingly, this product was advertised as “invented by a schoolteacher”. How is that convincing that it works? Why would anybody with an ounce of common sense believe that a schoolteacher is any more qualifed to create a cure for anything than any average person on the street. Just as stupid as listening to medical advice from movie stars. “I am not a doctor but I play one on TV” – I still remember these stupid ads from the 80s.

    Oh well, I didn’t know you could get money back for stupidity. But maybe this lawsuit will discourage other snake oil salesmen and saleswomen. Not that there is any hope of that…

  11. Im actually sad to see this. I’m a fan of Airborne. About a year ago I took Greyhound up to New York once a month. Found myself regularly getting sick being locked in that closed space for 4 hours. Someone recommended Airbone and I would take one before the trip and the immune system boost definitely kept me from getting sick. I never saw the product as something to stop a cold. I don’t think it was marketed that way. When I learned about it, it was as product that teachers, travelers, etc could take to boost the immune system before entering high-risk environments.

    Most of the ingredients (Vitamin C, E, Zinc, Echinacea) are things we commonly take for health anyway.

    btw, I’m looking at the container now… it says it contains 1000mg of Vitamin C. Which is 1,667% of Recommended Daily Value but that’s the same amount that my board certified doctor recommended I take when I have a cold.

  12. Zander Smith says:

    Based on what I’ve heard, getting the payout seems to be a hassle. I’m sure its as difficult as it needs to be, and no easier. Still waiting on my refund.

  13. CJ says:

    I use and believe in Airborne. While those around me fall from viruses, I take Airborne. Co-workers feeling like they are coming down with something, take it and feel better. Sometimes it’s just the synergistic percentage of the mixture of the C, E, Zinc and Echinacea. Maybe Airborne hit on that percentage formula along with taking it dissolved may also be a factor in it’s absorption into the human defense system. I just know it works for me and my friends and coworkers who take it.

    Lawyers are ruining this country, one lawsuit at a time. It is a sad state of affairs for anyone who bought it more than once, because they obviously thought it worked, who are now willing to perjure themselves for a couple of bucks. Shame on all of you. Why not defend a product you felt worthy of multiple purchases?

    I actually HAVE receipts going back several years AND I AM KEEPING THEM, not seeking remuneration just because I can.

  14. Dave says:

    I could not agree with CJ’s post more. People will sell out a product that they believed in for a few dollars. Taking airborne might be equal to drinking a glass of orange juice, so are we going to sue Tropicana? Sometimes a positive attitude is enough to boost your immune system, so if airborne gives you a positive outlook, more power to it I say.

  15. Michael Campbell says:

    You’re taking /medical/ advice from a *chiropractor”? *chuckle*

  16. Ashley says:

    I also like Airborne and think this is a bogus lawsuit. Airborne was so popular it was probably competing against mainstream pharmas OTC drugs and they really hate that…so they decided to get this suit started.

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