Woman in Florida Sues Hershey’s for “Deceptive” Packaging; Alleges FDUTPA Violation
On January 2nd, 2024, Fox 35 Orlando reported that a woman in Hillsborough County has filed a Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices (FDUTPA) complaint against Hershey’s, the Pennsylvania based multinational confectionery corporation. She contends that the company used deceptive packaging to market its ultra-popular “Reese’s” candy product. Here, our West Palm Beach deceptive trade practices attorney provides a more comprehensive overview of the FDUTPA complaint and the standard of liability in Florida.
Allegations: Hershey’s Engaged in Deceptive Marketing
Earlier this year, a Florida woman named Cynthia Kelly was looking for Halloween candy. She purchased Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins—which showed detailed pumpkin-based carvings on the packaging. However, the actual product—the candy instead of the wrapping—lacked any of this detail. She has now filed an FDUTPA claim against the Hershey Company (the owner of the Reese’s brand). That lawsuit contends that Hershey engaged in a deceptive scheme to boost its sales by materially misleading consumers about the candy that they were purchasing.
Ms. Kelly contends that she would have bought the product in question—the Reese’s candy with the pumpkin packaging—had she known the truth. The lawsuit demands Hershey be held financially responsible for misleading customers, seeking compensation, corrective actions, and legal expenses. She is seeking to bring a class action FDUTPA lawsuit and is seeking $5 million in financial compensation on behalf of affected customers. Notably, Hershey has not commented on the lawsuit to this point as litigation is still pending.
The FDUTPA is a State Law that Prohibits Deception and Unfair Practices
The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) is an important, powerful state law that protects both consumers and business against deceit and unfair methods in commerce. More specifically, it prohibits misleading practices by businesses. A company that engaged in deception or other unfair practices can be held liable for resulting damages. The law provides the fundamental basis for privately-initiated false advertising claims in Florida, including the recent Reese’s lawsuit.
How is a “Deceptive” Practice Defined Under the FDUTPA?
Under the FDUTPA, a “deceptive” practice is broadly defined to encompass any act or omission that is likely to mislead consumers. Some examples include making false statements and making materially misleading representations about the nature of a product or a service.The definition is intentionally wide-ranging to protect consumers from various forms of misleading and fraudulent business practices. Notably, it is also highly case-specific and highly fact-specific. What a reasonable consumer would believe about a product or service matters.
Consult With a South Florida Deceptive Trade Practices Attorney Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our West Palm Beach business lawyer handles FDUTPA cases. If you have any questions about a deceptive packaging or deceptive marketing claim, we are here to help. Reach out to us by phone or connect with us online to set up your confidential, no obligation appointment. From our West Palm Beach legal office, we take on deceptive and unfair trade practices cases in Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and all across South Florida.