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Wise Potato Chips Slack Fill Class Action Lawsuit

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This class action lawsuit claims that Wise Foods under-fills its bags of potato chips and other snacks, leaving too much space for air.

            Slack-fill is air or filler material within a packaged product. Slack-fill that is necessary as part of the manufacturing process, is the result of contents settling during shipping, or that is necessary to protect the product is functional slack-fill and is not proscribed.  Non- functional slack-fill is slack-fill that serves no legitimate purpose.  “The [FDA] also finds that slack-fill in excess of that necessary to accomplish a particular function is nonfunctional slack- fill.”  When consumers purchase a package of Wise’s, they are getting less product than they bargained for, effectively they are tricked into paying for air, because the products contain large amounts of non-functional slack-fill.

            This size of the plastic and aluminum chip bags in comparison to the volume of the chips makes it appear to consumers that they are buying more than what is actually being sold.  For example, a bag of Wise’s Golden Original Potato Chips contains 7 oz. of chips.  The bag is 12.5 inches tall and 6.5 inches wide.  4 of the approximately 12 inches of the bag are filled with chips, leaving 67% of the bag as slack-fill.  Other varieties and flavors have similar levels of slack-fill.

            One plaintiff in this lawsuit, Sameline Alce, purchased a 7 oz. bag of Wise Golden Original Potato Chips on August 23, 2016 for $1.94.  She paid to receive a bag of chips that was filled to an appropriate height, but the bag was less than half full of chips and contained significant slack-fill.  Had she known the low level to which the bag was filled, she would not have purchased the chips.

            Based on the facts of the case, the plaintiffs allege the following violations:

  • Violations of New York General Business Law
  • Violations of the Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act
  • False Advertising
  • Violations of the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act
  • Unjust Enrichment
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