Folgers Hit With Two Class Actions for Suggesting How Much Coffee a Package Can Make
Suing food manufacturers and restaurants for not giving customers the exact amount that they promised is turning out to be a popular source of lawsuits recently. Spurred by a previous lawsuit against Subway, attorney have taken aim at candy manufacturers and coffee makers for allegedly not giving customers what they paid for when they made the purchase. A recent lawsuit now claims that Folgers Coffee does not make the amount of cups of coffee that is promised on the container. In response, the company claims that the plaintiffs' attorneys cannot count.
Folgers Coffee products will tell consumers on the can exactly how many cups of coffee are able to be made from the jar. For example, one large cannister says that the container will make up to 210 cups of coffee. Some customers may buy this size with the expectation that they will receive that many cups of coffee from the cannister.
The Plaintiffs Allege that the Container of Coffee Is 54 Cups Short
However, according to the plaintiffs, Folgers chose a completely arbitrary number when it told customers of the number of cups in a container. The lawsuit alleges that there is nowhere near enough coffee in the container to produce that many cups. The attorneys claim that the representation is meant to give consumers expectations of the number of servings and creates false hopes when they buy. In other words, the number of cups becomes part of the bargain, and consumers do not get what they pay for when they buy the product.
The plaintiffs' attorney did their own testing of how many cups of coffee they could get out of that size Folgers container. They state that their own testing showed that the actual amount was 54 cups less. The complaint alleges that the inflated number of cups is part of a bait-and-switch scheme to both get consumers to buy Folgers and that size.
The lawsuit accuses Folgers of deceptive advertising in order to con consumers into buying its products. The plaintiffs allege that Folgers makes similar false statements with other size products in that they also produce less than advertised.
Folgers Responds By Saying that the Plaintiffs Cannot Count
After the first lawsuit was filed in California, there was a second one filed in Florida. In that state, Folgers filed a motion to dismiss the case. The company has simply argued that the plaintiffs cannot count and made a mistake with their allegations. They said that nothing about their product does not live up to the description on the packaging. Folgers detailed how a certain container of its coffee says on the label that it can make up to 380 cups. According to Folgers, there is no evidence that it does not make up to 380 cups. The packaging does not say that it contains 380 tablespoons of coffee.
One of the first lawsuits of this type in the country was when plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Subway. The sandwich chain was advertising footlong sandwiches. However, the bread in the sandwich frequently measured to be less than a full foot. Subway was ready to settle the case. However, judges must also approve settlements, and the judge in the case rejected the settlement agreement as worthless.
However, this gave plaintiffs' attorneys an opening to file lawsuits against companies for purportedly giving customers less than the packaging indicated. One popular area of lawsuit is against candy makers. For example, the maker of Junior Mints was sued because the packaging was much larger than the amount of candy in the package. According to the plaintiffs, this was false advertising as it convinced buyers that they would be getting more than they really did. However, recent cases of this type have been dismissed by courts before they have reached a trial on the merits.
Accordingly, the Folgers case seems like it faces an uphill climb. In the example given by Folgers, there is nothing strictly wrong about the wording used on the product's label. Moreover, there is nothing that says that manufacturers are held to have guaranteed customers a certain amount of product when they suggest how many cups their products can make. Customers buy coffee by the weight, and they have received the exact amount of coffee for which they have paid. The result may be different if a one-pound package came in weighing 15 ounces.
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