Common Law - The FindLaw Consumer Protection Law Blog

Tootsie Roll Sued for Consumer Fraud Over Half-Empty Junior Mints Box

Opening a box of candy only to find it half full feels like a cruel joke. It's akin to unwrapping a giant present on Christmas morning, but discovering a lone pair of fuzzy socks enclosed within. It's nice and all, but not what you expected. A similarly unhappy customer is taking her partially-filled box of Jr. Mints to court and suing Tootsie Roll for consumer fraud.

Junior Mints Deceptive

As the lawsuit explains, Paige Stemm went to her local Walmart and purchased a box of Junior Mints for about a dollar. To her frustration, the "oversized theater box" contained "nearly as much air as candy." The lawsuit seeks class-action status and is suing Tootsie Roll Industries -- the makers of Junior Mints -- for "misleading, deceptive and unlawful conduct" in it's packaging.

Slack Fill and Consumer Fraud

Lawsuits such as this are referred to as slack fill lawsuits and are governed by federal regulation. Slack fill is "the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein." Not all slack fill is bad, though.

For example, the air pumped into your tortilla chips bag helps minimize breakage. At some point, however, the amount of slack fill can tip the scales toward consumer fraud. Lawsuits have included packaging related to candy, spices, and other food items. The American Bar Association reports that the number of federal class-action slack fill lawsuits has risen from 20 in 2008 to more than 110 in 2015.

If you think you may have been a victim of consumer fraud, contact an attorney who can assess your case and guide you in the first steps for filing a claim.

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