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Woman sues Hershey for $5 million because candy doesn't match the wrapper design

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

A Florida woman is suing the Hershey Company for what she says is false advertising. The reason...

JUANA SUMMERS, HOST:

On the outside of a seasonal package, a peanut butter cup with a jack-o'-lantern face. But on the inside...

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: But this is a trick. This is not a treat.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: I thought it would have a face on it. It's just a chocolate blob.

SUMMERS: Two videos of disappointed consumers that the lawsuit cites.

KELLY: The candies range in shape depending on the holiday. Ghosts, bats and pumpkins are the Halloween varieties, but some consumers do not see the resemblance.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: Does this look like a pumpkin to you?

SUMMERS: Cynthia Kelly, who brought the class action lawsuit, bought the, quote, "cute-looking" pumpkin peanut butter cups in October, believing that the candy in question would match the outside. She is seeking at least $5 million in damages.

KELLY: Reese's Peanut Butter Pumpkins launched nationally in 1993, but Reese's did not always include the images that you see on packages today. The lawsuit states, quote, "in order to boost sales and revenues of the products, Hershey's changed the packaging for the products to include the detailed carvings within the last two to three years."

SUMMERS: And we reached out to Hershey, who wrote back that they, quote, "don't comment on pending litigation." Anthony Russo Jr. is the lawyer representing Kelly in this case.

ANTHONY RUSSO: This is just a reality check for these corporations. It's hey; you know, you are going to give the consumers what they asked for, whether it's, you know, an etching on a Reese's peanut butter cup or it's - you know, it's a non-defective home that you're living in, your family's living in.

KELLY: His firm is also representing the plaintiffs in a class action suit against Burger King. That one claims the company uses misleading advertising to represent their food items as larger than they are. He says his firm receives around a hundred calls a month for these types of cases.

RUSSO: Some are a little wacky, to be honest with you. And we probably take, you know, less than 1%.

KELLY: It is yet to be determined if this case against Hershey will make it past a judge.

SUMMERS: But even if the candies aren't as cute as they look on that packaging, most people agree they still taste pretty good.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: And the most annoying thing about this is it's quite nice. It's a nice peanut butter little chocolate bar snack.

(SOUNDBITE OF LOLA YOUNG SONG, "CONCEITED") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Emma Klein
Justine Kenin is an editor on All Things Considered. She joined NPR in 1999 as an intern. Nothing makes her happier than getting a book in the right reader's hands – most especially her own.