MIAMI – How much is your time worth?
According to a Hialeah woman, the extra time she’s spent prepping a mac and cheese product that “falsely” claims it’s “ready in 3 1/2 minutes” is worth at least $5 million.
Amanda Ramirez filed a class-action lawsuit against Kraft Heinz in Miami federal court earlier this month, seeking damages from the company over what she says are its “false and misleading” claims about how quickly its microwavable Velveeta Shells & Cheese cups take to be ready.
Ramirez, described in the lawsuit as a shopper who seeks to “stretch (her) money as far as possible when buying groceries” and who “looks to bold statements of value when quickly selecting groceries,” bought the product between October and November at a Hialeah Publix, for a “premium price, approximately no less than $10.99,” according to court documents.
Ramirez had the expectation that the product would be ready to eat in three-and-a-half minutes “from the moment it is unopened to the moment it is ready for consumption,” based on the labeling, according to the lawsuit.
But she claims the labeling should take into account the additional preparation required before and after cooking the product in the microwave for 3 1/2 minutes, including removing the lid and the cheese sauce pouch, adding water to the fill line and stirring and then stirring again after cooking and allowing the product to thicken while standing.
The lawsuit suggests the packaging should instead say the product takes “3 1/2 minutes to cook in the microwave.”
Ramirez claims Kraft Heinz sold more of the mac and cheese product “and at higher prices than it would have in the absence of this misconduct, resulting in additional profits at the expense of consumers.”
Local 10 News has reached out to Kraft Heinz for comment.
Ramirez’s attorney, Will Wright, released a statement to Local 10 News, defending filing the lawsuit on her behalf, despite the degree of “flak” he’s received:
“I’ve gotten a lot of flak about this case, but deceptive advertising is deceptive advertising. Here, Kraft charges extra for a desirable feature (saving time) but the marketing is false, it takes far longer for the product to be ready than as advertised. Deceptive adverting plain and simple. There are a lot of people that may feel this is just a little fibbing and not really a case and I get that. But we are striving for something better. We want corporate America to be straightforward and truthful in advertising their products. My firm also represents clients in what most would say are more compelling cases (arsenic in baby food, etc.) but we don’t feel corporations should get a pass for any deceptive advertising. The consumers deserve better.”Will Wright, The Wright Law Office, P.A.
Read the full lawsuit here: