A powerful US Congressional committee has exposed a widespread international commercial fraud which legal observers say could spark massive lawsuits by consumers seeking compensation for their losses.
A year-long investigation by the US Senate’s personal grooming products’ oversight committee culminated in public hearings in Washington DC this week at which an anonymous whistleblower (main picture) from within the American shaving cream industry gave evidence that the product is essentially useless.
In his sensational testimony the unidentified witness claimed to have worked in the shaving cream industry for more than 30 years and had risen from the mail room in one company to a senior executive position.
“I never ever felt comfortable in my work over all those years,” the witness told the committee under intense questioning.
“I accepted all the rewards that came with my various jobs and promotions, but deep down I knew it was all a sham.
“I mean just consider what shaving cream is made from. About 20% of it is made up of a bit of oil, some stabilisers, a touch of glycerine, and some added fragrance.
“But the other 80% is just water. So you might as well not use it and just wet your face, legs, or armpits before shaving.
“I mean we’ve all done that when we’ve run out of shaving cream,” he told the Senate committee, “and if you’re honest you’ll say you didn’t really notice much difference in the results.”
The secret witness said before the invention of shaving cream men and women shaved using a lather made from mixing water with sticks of ordinary soap.
“That’s just as effective today,” he said. “Then in the 1940s we started making shaving cream and sold it in tubes like toothpaste.
“Then we invented shaving foam which is really just shaving cream with lots of air added. So now you’re actually paying a fortune for a can filled mainly with air as well as water.
“It’s a rip-off and has been for decades,” he said before breaking down at the witness table, causing the hearings to be suspended.
Legal observers said the bombshell testimony was likely to see multiple class actions around the world by consumers against shaving cream manufacturers.
“People have a right to feel like they’ve been ripped off and to seek compensation for the money they’ve wasted over many years,” said Professor Jill Ette, lecturer in consumer law at Yale University.
“This is going to be a landmark case with international repercussions. After all, who ever thought that an expensive personal cosmetic product would turn out to be useless and overpriced?
“I’m shocked, and I know many consumers will be too.”