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A lawsuit accuses Hershey's of using 'deceptive' packaging on Reese's products

Four customers in Florida have filed a federal lawsuit against The Hershey Company alleging that designs displayed on some Reese's Peanut Butter cups were misleading to customers.
Plaintiffs v. The Hershey Company
Four customers in Florida have filed a federal lawsuit against The Hershey Company alleging that designs displayed on some Reese's Peanut Butter cups were misleading to customers.

Several individuals in Florida have filed a federal lawsuit against The Hershey Company alleging that designs displayed on some Reese's Peanut Butter cups were misleading to customers.

In a 20-page lawsuit, four consumers — Nathan Vidal, Debra Kennick, Abdjul Martin and Eduardo Granados — argue that the chocolate manufacturer misled its customers with several of its Reese's Peanut Butter products by showing "explicit carved out artistic designs" on the wrappers.

Once the chocolate candies are unwrapped from their packaging, the actual products and the products are "blanks," the lawsuit says.

"Hershey's deceptive advertising is causing many consumers to purchase the products because of the cool and beautiful carved out designs on the products' packaging, when they would have not purchased the products if they were truthfully advertised," the suit reads.

The chocolate candies listed by the consumers in the lawsuit include — Reese's Medal, Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkin, Reese's White Ghost, Reese's Peanut Butter Bats and Reese's Peanut Butter FootBalls.

In the suit, the four customers allege that the products' packaging was not "always deceptive and misleading," as the company changed the packaging for the products to include detailed carvings within the last two to three years to "boost sales and revenues."

The four consumers are asking for an unspecified amount in compensatory damages in an amount according to proof at trial, the lawsuit says.

The Hershey Company has not responded to NPR's multiple requests for comment.

Anthony Russo, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, told NPR his firm receives dozens of calls a month for cases involving misleading advertising when it comes to products and advertising.

"I'd say about 98-99% of [the cases] we have to turn down just because we don't feel like the particular fact pattern is strong enough to pursue a case," Russo said.

Russo didn't specify why his firm took this case but he said they're also representing another set of plaintiffs in a class action suit against Burger King. The plaintiffs argue that the fast food chain uses misleading advertising to present its food items as larger than they are.

The Hershey Company is no stranger to lawsuits involving false representation in its products.

In January, a Florida woman filed a lawsuit against the company after alleging she purchased Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins with a jack-o'-lantern wrapping in October. The woman, Cynthia Kelly, said the picture on the wrapper did not match the chocolate candy she unwrapped.

Kelly's lawsuit argues that the problematic packaging extends to Reese's seasonal ghosts, bats and pumpkins — citing several YouTube videos of other customers complaining.

"This is a class action against Hershey for falsely representing several Reese's Peanut Butter products as containing explicit carved out artistic designs when there are no such carvings in the actual products," the lawsuit says.

Kelly is seeking at least $5 million in damages. It is unclear whether her case will make it in front of a judge.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Jonathan Franklin is a digital reporter on the News desk covering general assignment and breaking national news.