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Wise gets sued for under filling its bags of potato chips

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Potato chip bags
Image Credit: Lee Litigation Group, PLLC
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Wise Brands has raised the hackles of consumers by routinely packing a tiny bit of potato chips into an oversized package. Now they’re facing a class-action lawsuit over the practice!

Read more: McCormick sued over size of pepper tins

Wise gets sued over slack-fill

Two plaintiffs, Sameline Alce and Desiré Nugent, allege that Wise is deliberately under filling some bags of its potato chips to trick consumers into thinking they’re paying for more than they’re actually getting.

In images presented as part of their case, the plaintiffs note that the bags of Wise Ridgies they bought were only filled to roughly the three-inch line despite being in such a giant bag!

Wise potato chips with ruler

You can’t see through the bag, so it’s not easy to determine how much product you’re actually getting when you buy the chips.

In the industry, the space that’s left in packaging to protect a product is called slack-fill. But it is possible to have too much slack-fill, leaving packages with less product than you’d want or expect.

Here’s a list of Wise products that the plaintiffs allege have too much slack-fill:

Wise potato chips that are allegedly under filled
Wise potato chips that are allegedly under filled

The problem is, the plaintiffs claim, Wise seems to be deliberately adding more slack-fill to some products than others.

They noted in their lawsuit that a 9.25-ounce bag of Wise Original Dipsy Doodles only had less than one-third of slack-fill. So clearly Wise could fill many of the offending bags higher than it currently does.

Even Wise’s competitors use less slack-fill in their own packaging of potato chips.

“When competitors fit more potato chips into the same size bag that Defendant uses, it proves that some of the empty space in Defendant’s Product bags is in excess of that needed for potato chip manufacturing and shipping,” the lawsuit states.

The two plaintiffs are seeking a court order that would require Wise to package their chips “without non-functional slack-fill,” in addition to seeking monetary damages.

An ongoing problem with packaging

For years, we’ve told you about manufacturers giving you less product while still keeping the price the same.

It happened with toilet paper:

Toilet paper rolls
courtesy of Flickr/Consumerist Dot Com

And it happened in the spice aisle:

McCormicks spices
courtesy of Watkins

The message is clear: Let the buyer beware!

It’s a better idea to shop by unit price rather than just looking at the size of the packaging relative to the cost.

Read more: The #1 most overlooked thing that can save you money at the supermarket

How to compare unit prices at the supermarket

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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