An alleged cheesy bait-and-switch could cost Kraft Heinz $5 million, if one Florida woman gets her way.
She is suing over its microwavable mac-and-cheese cups because, she says, the dish takes longer to make than the front of the box states.
While Velveeta Shells & Cheese is advertised as being “ready in 3½ minutes,” that’s only how long each cup needs to be microwaved, Amanda Ramirez says in her suit.
Following the other instructions — removing the lid and cheese sauce pouch, stirring in the water and then mixing in the cheese sauce pouch after microwaving — makes the process take longer, she claims.
Ramirez recently told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that she wouldn’t have bought the cups if she’d known the prep time took longer than 3½ minutes.
“Consumers seeing ‘ready in 3½ minutes’ will believe it represents the total amount of time it takes to prepare the product, meaning from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption,” the suit states.
The product costs “approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39 oz cups,” according to Ramirez’s filing.
The $5 million figure factors in statutory and punitive damages, as well as interest and costs, with Ramirez expecting at least 100 people to sign onto what will become a class-action lawsuit, the Sentinel reported. The suit was filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Miami.
“We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint,” stated a Kraft Heinz Foods Company spokesperson.
It is a matter of principle, says one of the attorneys involved in the case.
“I’ve gotten a lot of flak about this case, but deceptive advertising is deceptive advertising,” lawyer William Wright of West Palm Beach told the Washington Post. “Here, Kraft charges extra for a desirable feature (saving time) but the marketing is false, it takes far longer for the product to be ready than as advertised. Deceptive advertising plain and simple.”
Attorney Spencer Sheehan, who heads the other law firm on the case, sued Kraft last year for not having enough strawberries in its Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tarts.
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