Florida woman sues for $5M because she can’t cook Velveeta Shells and Cheese in 3 1/2 minutes

A Florida woman filed a $5 million “frivolous” lawsuit against Kraft Heinz Foods alleging their microwavable Velveeta Shells & Cheese cannot be prepared in the time advertised by the company.

Amanda Ramirez of Hialeah, Florida is suing the food giant in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida claiming the company’s assertion that the product is “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” is “false and misleading,” according to court documents.

While the front of the box says “ready in 3 1/2 minutes,” the back of the box lists four steps to prepare the single serving dish: remove lid and cheese pouch, add water, microwave 3 1/2 minutes, and stir. The suit alleges that all four steps cannot be completed in 3 1/2 minutes making the bold claim false.

“Consumers seeing ‘ready in 31⁄2 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 alleges. “However, the directions outlined above show that 3-and-a-half minutes is just the length of time to complete one of several steps. The label does not state the Product takes ‘3 1⁄2 minutes to cook in the microwave,’ which would have been true.”

“To provide consumers with a Product that is actually ‘ready in 31⁄2 minutes,’ the Product would need to be cooked in the microwave for less than 3-and-a-half minutes, so that all the preparation steps could be completed in the 3-and-a-half minutes timeframe,” the suit continues.

The claim of “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” was intentionally misleading, according to Ramirez.

“Consumers are misled to expect the Product will be ready for consumption in a shorter amount of time than it really takes to prepare,” court documents read. “[Kraft Heinz] sold more of the Product and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers.”

In an effort to “stretch [her] money as far as possible when buying groceries,” Ramirez chose the product because of the claims made on the box, she said.

“As a result of the false and misleading representations, the Product is sold at a premium price, approximately no less than $10.99 for eight 2.39 oz cups, excluding tax and sales, higher than similar products, represented in a non-misleading way, and higher than it would be sold for absent the misleading representations and omissions.”

Ramirez alleges she is so distraught over the subterfuge, she can no longer trust any claims made on products.

“[Ramirez] paid more for the Product than she would have paid and would not have purchased it or paid less had she known the truth,” according to the lawsuit. “[Ramirez] is unable to rely on the labeling and representations not only of this Product, but other similar products that claim they are ready in a specific amount of time, because she is unsure whether those representations are truthful.”

Though dismayed by the company’s “false assertions,” Ramirez hopes to buy Velveeta Shells and Cheese again, once the company adjusts the packaging to more clearly reflect the correct preparation time.

“[Ramirez] intends to, seeks to, and will purchase the Product again when she can do so with the assurance its representations are consistent with its abilities, attributes, and/or composition,” the lawsuit said.

The suit claims Kraft Heinz Company is in violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by “engaging in unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts and practices, and unfair and deceptive acts and practices in the conduct of its business.”

In addition to $5 million in damages, Ramirez is seeking statutory and/or punitive damages from the $47 billion conglomerate.

“We are aware of this frivolous lawsuit and will strongly defend against the allegations in the complaint,”  the company told Fox Business.

Republished with permission from American Wire News Service


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