The multinational bottled water company Nestlé Waters is no stranger to legal battles. For years, communities around the U.S. have found themselves in court fighting the company for control over their community water resources. Nestlé has also been sued for using deceptive marketing practices. In 2003, several class action lawsuits were filed against Nestlé because consumers found claims that its Poland Spring brand water was “found deep in the woods of Maine” and “exceptionally well protected by nature” to be misleading. Once again, Nestlé’s pursuit of public water has landed the company in hot water.
For almost five years, Chicago Faucet Shoppes, a faucet and toilet repair parts store, bought 5-gallon jugs of Nestlé’s Ice Mountain brand water for their office. Like many consumers, the company was under the impression that it was purchasing spring water, but recently learned that the water actually came from municipal supplies. After discovering the truth, Chicago Faucet filed a lawsuit against Nestlé for misleading practices.
As explained in a Law360 article (subscription required), “Chicago Faucet is suing on behalf of all persons in Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Missouri who purchased the 5-gallon Ice Mountain bottles, claiming unjust enrichment and deceptive trade practices under the Illinois Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and seeking actual and punitive damages, an injunction mandating disclosure and restitution.”
Within the past few years, many bottled water companies have shifted their advertising messages in ways that obscure the source of their water. For instance, Nestlé promotes its Pure Life brand, which is primarily sourced from municipal supplies, as a necessity for a healthy lifestyle. This also helps the company avoid controversy and potential lawsuits over the legitimacy of its water source.
For these reasons and more, it’s clear that consumers should ditch the bottle, take advantage of the free, healthy water flowing from the faucet and pledge to take back the tap. After all, water belongs to the public and should be preserved for all.