NEW YORK - Hershey's is calling a class action lawsuit filed against it over the amount of Kisses in its packaging meritless.
The class action, filed on Sept. 20 in New York federal court, claims Hershey’s falsely advertises the amount of candy in its 12 ounce bags of Kisses. Plaintiff Christopher Huppert says some bags of Hershey’s Kisses (for instance Kisses with almonds) contain less than 12 ounces of candy but are sold for the same price as the 12 ounce classic bag of milk chocolate Kisses.
The discrepancy in ounces stated on the bag and the actual weight of the candy violates New York’s Consumer Protection Act, he alleges.
Jennifer Sniderman, director of strategic communications at Hershey’s, says “There is no merit to this suit.”
“Hershey’s packaging fully complies with all state and federal laws," she added.
According to the complaint, “Hershey's has reduced the contents of the 'Classic Bags' for Hershey’s kisses Milk Chocolate with Almonds by 8%, and under-filled the bags with only 11 ounces (net weight) of Kisses.”
It claims the cookies n’ creme bags only have 10.5 ounces of Kisses, but the price is the same as that of the classic 12 ounce bags of classic Kisses.
As a result, “Defendant has engaged in an unfair and deceptive business practice that has the capacity, tendency, and effect of deceiving reasonable consumers who purchase the products,” the complaint claims.
According to the Complaint, “Defendant has engaged in a systematic course of misrepresenting the products to consumers.” The plaintiff claims the packaging violates section 349 of the New York General Business Law.
Huppert also claims that Hershey’s violates New York’s section 350 of General Business Law, which defines false advertising as “advertising, including labeling, of a commodity, or of the kind, character, terms or conditions of any employment opportunity if such advertising is misleading in a material respect.”
Huppert, and prospective class members, are seeking to recover their actual damages, or $50, for each alleged violation. He also seeks triple damages and attorneys fees.
Sniderman, however, states that “The label of every Hershey product clearly and accurately states the weight of the product in the package for consumers to read at the time of purchase.”
Hershey’s milk chocolate Kisses have been a company staple since 1907. In recent years, the company has expanded the line of individually wrapped chocolates to include Hershey’s with almonds, cookies n’ creme, dark chocolate, mint, hugs and more.
Judge Cathy Seibel has granted Hershey's an extension of time to respond to the complaint. Its answer is due Tuesday.
Huppert is represented by Jeffrey I. Carton and Robert J. Berg of Denlea & Carton LLP in White Plains, New York.