According to an article in PRWeb, Gillman Law LLP reported that a class action suit against Duracell for false advertising was filed on April 10, 2012, in the federal court in San Francisco, California. The complaint alleges that plaintiffs bought the significantly higher priced batteries on a “false promise” that they would last longer than the ordinary batteries, especially in children’s toys. Additionally, the complaint alleges that defendants Duracell, and it’s parent company Proctor and Gamble, engaged in a “scheme to mislead consumers”, and “concealed and misrepresented material facts” regarding their Ultra Advanced and Ultra Power batteries.
The packaging of the batteries in question featured the text “Up to 30% longer in toys” in bold lettering, with an asterisk to the disclaimer “vs. Ultra Digital” in much smaller print. According to the complaint, Duracell’s website stated that the Ultra Advanced batteries were “ideal for high-drain devices, these batteries give you up to 30% more power in toys than Ultra Digital batteries” and “use with high drain devices, including battery-powered toys, high-powered flashlights, and video game controllers.” Unfortunately, based upon plaintiffs’ experience (and their counsel’s investigation), the batteries allegedly failed to last materially longer than Duracell’s regular batteries. Therefore, the plaintiffs argued that Duracell mislead consumers into purchasing higher priced batteries.
After some time, perhaps when people began to catch on, Duracell phased out the “Ultra Advanced” batteries, and replace them with their “Ultra Power” batteries. These batteries were branded as Duracell’s “Longest Lasting”, for use “When It Matters Most.” Duracell’s website claimed these batteries were premium powered for devices including “Battery-powered toys, Video game controllers, High-powered flashlights, Digital cameras, and Radio clocks.” However, these too allegedly failed to live up to the expectations.
Plaintiffs contend that defendants “conspicuously failed to disclose that the Ultra Advanced and Ultra Power batteries provide no material difference in battery life from any of their other alkaline battery products.” Consequently, plaintiffs argue that a reasonable consumer would likely be misled into believing that the batteries would last longer. Because of what plaintiffs call a “deceptive marketing scheme”, on the part of the defendants, consumers purchased the higher priced batteries on this false belief, with no additional benefits.
The complaint states defendants alleged violations include: violation of California Business and Professions Code §§17200, et seq. –“Unfair” Conduct, “Fraudulent” Conduct, “Unlawful” Conduct; §§1750, et seq. –False Advertising; and violation of California Civil Code §1750, et seq. –Consumer Legal Remedies Act.