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Florida lawsuit aims to debunk motto ‘There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s’

Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

A proposed $5 million class-action lawsuit with ties to South Florida accuses The Hershey Company of false and deceptive advertising, alleging its Reese’s holiday candy depicted on the wrapping doesn’t match the actual chocolate.

The Halloween- and Christmas-themed pictures on the wrapping don’t match the nuances such as eyes, mouths or decorative etchings on the actual chocolates, lawyers argue.

“Looks like eggs!!” reads the 17-page lawsuit over the photo of a chocolate football that has no carving for the leather laces on the ball.

“It looks like a blob that doesn’t resemble what was on the photograph,” Delray Beach-based attorney Anthony Russo Jr. said on Wednesday. He said disappointed customers have said “I feel like I wouldn’t have bought it if I knew it was going to look like this.”

Russo’s law firm filed the proposed class action lawsuit in federal court in the state’s Orlando/Tampa district last week because the plaintiff lives in Tampa and spent $4.49 on a Reese’s with a pumpkin wrapper at an Aldi’s in October.

The woman “believed that the product contained a cute looking carving of a pumpkin’s mouth and eyes as pictured on the product packaging,” the suit reads, but it did not.

“The advertising for the products was designed to encourage consumers to purchase the products and reasonably misled reasonable consumers, including plaintiff and the class into purchasing the products,” the suit reads.

If eventually approved to be certified as a class, consumers who purchased a Reese’s Peanut Butter product in the United States and can show receipts would be permitted to join to get a rebate.

Russo said Wednesday the lawsuit “is about accountability and really about making change. It’s ‘hey, do what you say you’re going to do, and do it fairly for the consumers.'”

The complaint alleges that Hershey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter products have engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices for falsely advertising carved-out artistic designs on an assortment of products including Reese’s Peanut Butter Pumpkins, Reese’s White Pumpkins, Reese’s Pieces Pumpkins, Reese’s Peanut Butter Ghost, Reese’s White Ghost, Reese’s Peanut Butter Bats, Reese’s Peanut Butter Footballs, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Shapes Assortment Snowmen Stockings Bells.

A spokesman for the Hershey, Penn- based The Hershey Company declined comment Wednesday, citing pending litigation.

Russo said that “numerous consumers have been tricked and misled” by the pictures on the products’ packaging, and brands like Hershey have a responsibility to their consumers “and not continually engage in perpetual advertorial deception. We intend to have our clients’ voices heard to force necessary change in the industry.”

Russo is the same attorney who filed a suit against Burger King in March 2022, seeking damages on behalf of four named plaintiffs and millions of others who the suit claims suffered financial damages when the sandwiches they received were smaller than depicted in ads and the stores’ menu boards.

In a 22-page ruling dated Aug. 23, U.S District Judge Roy K. Altman said that the plaintiffs may proceed with their claims accusing the fast food company of breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.

Russo also took on Wendy’s and McDonald’s, saying in a suit the companies use undercooked beef patties in ads, making them look 15% to 20% larger than those that customers get. That case, however, was dismissed by a federal judge last year.

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at Follow on X, formerly Twitter, @LisaHuriash