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August 17, 2020

Is Folgers Exaggerating The Number of Cups of Coffee Each Canister Makes?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:43 am

J.M. Smucker, the maker of Folgers coffee, has been the subject of several recent class action lawsuits, all claiming the same thing — the company grossly exaggerates the number of cups of coffee that each canister is capable of making. (One case is here, and another case is here.)


For this particular Folgers variety, the company claims you get up to 210 cups of coffee (6 ounce size) per canister. And the instructions on the back tell you to use one tablespoon per 6 ounce cup or 1/2 cup of grounds for 10 “cups.”

Well, those crafty class action lawyers measured out the coffee to see what you actually got in each container (see below) and one of them mathematically figured out how many tablespoons weighing about five grams each there were.


For the French Roast coffee pictured above that is supposed to make 210 cups, brewing the coffee by the cup only yielded enough for 156 cups; while making the coffee in batches of 10 cups at time still came up short by yielding only 195 cups.

We asked Smucker how they came up with their yield of 210 cups, and for comments about the lawsuits. Despite multiple requests, the company did not respond. However, in a Florida lawsuit, Folgers argued that the amount a can makes varies greatly because coffee drinkers have different preferences for a cup’s strength. As such, it concluded, their claims are accurate.

Folgers is not alone in getting sued over their yield claims. Last month, the maker of Maxwell House coffee was sued for allegedly doing the same thing.

Thanks to Truth in Advertising for the case.

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August 10, 2020

More Junk Fees Added to Car Rental Bills

Filed under: Autos,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 4:50 am

Car rental companies are notorious for advertising low rates but then when you add all the taxes and fees, the price can jump up dramatically.

Recently a friend rented a car from Enterprise in the Boston area and he noticed a number odd extra charges added to his bill.


car rental fees

What these fees are for is not obvious. Poking around online reveals that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is directly responsible for two of them, and indirectly for the third.

The parking violation surcharge, which one would think is only imposed if you got a ticket, is actually mandated by state law. It says that the rental company will not be liable for traffic tickets if it collects a sixty cent surcharge from the car renter and pays that to the city. (See G.L. c. 90, ยง 20E(i))

The $2 per rental police training fee is another creature of the Massachusetts legislature. They thought it was a clever way to help pay for police training. (See story.)

And lastly, the “VLC Rec Fee” is a made up fee by rental car companies. It stands for “Vehicle License Cost Recovery Fee.” It is designed to recover the estimated average daily cost per vehicle of the charges imposed by the government for the rental car company to title, register, inspect, and plate all vehicles in its rental fleet. Enterprise charges a whopping $2.80 per day for this.

Interestingly, Illinois has a statute about this particular fee that says if the total fees collected exceed the rental car company’s actual costs of registration, etc., it may keep the excess, but has to adjust the fee charged to renters downward the following year.

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August 3, 2020

Here We Downsize Again – Summer 2020

Filed under: Downsizing,Food/Groceries — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:12 am

Here is the latest roster of products that manufacturers have reduced in size in order to pass on a sneaky price increase.



P&G has continually downsized Dawn Dishwashing Liquid through the years. The latest change: they knocked another ounce off their smallest bottle… it is now down to just seven ounces.




Lay’s Potato Chips

One of the most downsized products over the years has been potato chips. The big bag gets smaller and smaller until the point where they reintroduce the large size again, but of course at a much higher price. This time around, maybe because parties are getting smaller on account of COVID-19, Lay’s is chipping away at the party size bag shrinking it from 15.25 ounces to 13 ounces.


Lay's Potato Chips

Thanks to our ace downsizing spotter, Richard G. for this submission.


Walmart Great Value Paper Towels

LeAnne W. came across a huge downsizing at Walmart recently. Their own brand of paper towels, Great Value, was downsized from 168 sheets on a roll to just 120. And the price remained the same at $14.97. Some value.


Great Value paper towels


Dollar Tree Flour Tortillas

MrConsumer’s go-to place for flour tortillas is Dollar Tree. They sell one-pound packages with a dozen tortillas for a buck. Last winter, the tortillas seemed smaller, but the package still said 16 ounces. Then they introduced 12 ounce packages but still with 12 inside. I am happy to report that the 12 ounce bags were short-lived. They are back up to full-size and a full pound.




Keebler Club Crackers

It looked like Keebler Club crackers had been downsized from 13.7 ounces to 12.5, thus eliminating a dozen crackers from each box.


Keebler Club Crackers

But thanks to reader Jim’s research, it turns out not to be the case. The “snack stack” box was the only “original” variety carried at MrConsumer’s local store. Visiting another store, the comparable “original” Club Cracker box was in stock, and in fact was still 13.7 ounces. The only thing eliminated from the product was the Keebler name and the Keebler elves. Perhaps even cartoon characters are not safe if a company downsizes its workforce.

Keebler now Kellogg's

If you find a product that has recently been downsized, please try to take a sharp picture of the old and new side-by-side and send it to us.

• • •

July 27, 2020

The NBC Peacock Buries a Gem in its Terms and Conditions

Filed under: Humor,Internet — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:37 am

Lawyers sometimes have a sense of humor. This is evidenced by the fact that every year or so one of them hides a totally irrelevant provision in a company’s terms and conditions statement just to prove that virtually no one ever reads through all the boilerplate.

In the past, we’ve spotlighted the local TV station that buried a provision in their standard release form requiring the interviewee to don a Santa’s cap and sing a song. Then there was the provision that granted users free wifi in public areas in London, but they had to give up their first born child in exchange. And there was the case when Amazon released a new gaming platform for developers but the terms and conditions warned against using the code in any life-critical situations except if a virus was transmitted by zombies and threatened the existence of mankind.

Now comes NBC with its new Peacock streaming service and a nearly 10,000 word terms of use statement.



Would you care to try to find the hidden gem?

If you give up, the answer is here.


• • •

July 20, 2020

Thanks for Nothing – Summer 2020

Filed under: Humor,Retail,Thanks for Nothing — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:33 am

Periodically we share offers from sellers that just make you scratch your head or chuckle because of the contradictions in the advertising or surprises in the fine print.

Example #1

In an online promotion, Macy’s promised to take $11.99 off a box of a particular brand of chocolates when you made any purchase. But, when reader William-Andrew went to check out, the system did not take off the full $11.99.


$11.99 off

The Macy’s online call center refused to fix the overcharge, but once stores reopened, the manager there gladly gave our consumer back the difference. Thanks for nothing (at least online), Macy’s.


Example #2

While we’re dumping on Macy’s, reader Gay R. sent in a coupon that promised a generous 25% off for their credit card holders. The back of the coupon, however, noted a list of exclusions in miniscule type that seemingly left little the coupon could be used for.


coupon exclusions


Example #3

Joe W. says he visited the Sears in Danbury, CT and had to send in a picture of a “blowout” deal he saw on some tools while getting his car repaired.


Sears Blowout

He said “at least they were brutally honest.” Thanks for nothing, Sears.


Example #4

And CVS was offering the same amount of savings on these masks that only looked like they were on sale.


CVS masks

Thanks for nothing, CVS.


Example #5

If you didn’t look carefully, you might have thought it was your lucky day to find a genuine bargain on parking downtown.


Parking $4


If you find a funny or oddball offer that could be spotlighted here, please submit a copy to us.

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