Is Godiva Chocolate Really Made in Belgium?

Back in September, we told you about the court case of King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls, whose packaging and advertising says “Est. 1950” and “Hilo, Hawaii” under the brand name suggesting that it was manufactured in Hawaii when in fact it was made in California. (See original story.) Most readers thought there was no case here.

Now fast forward a few months to a similar suit [see complaint] where consumers are claiming that Godiva is misrepresenting their chocolates as being made in Belgium when in fact they are manufactured in Pennsylvania. They cite as evidence that the phrase “Belgium 1926” is depicted under the brand name on every chocolate package, each one says “Belgian chocolate,” and the term is used on signs on their buildings and is included in advertising.

Godiva chocolate

In court, the company made a motion to have the case dismissed. The judge denied most of their request in his ruling, saying…

*MOUSE PRINT:

Courts apply the “reasonable consumer” standard to determine whether a representation is false or deceptive under each of the relevant New York and California consumer-protection statutes.

Godiva also contends that the word “Belgium” is inextricably linked to the year “1926,” and the latter “cures any likelihood of deception,” in its labeling. It argues that for a consumer to be deceived into thinking “Belgium 1926” represents that the products [were made] in Belgium, the consumer must also believe that the products she is purchasing were made almost one-hundred years ago -— a clearly unreasonable belief. This argument, however, is too clever by half.

A consumer could reasonably believe that Godiva was founded in Belgium in 1926, as Godiva contends, and that the representation on its products of this heritage means that its products continue to be manufactured in that location.

With that, the judge allowed the case to move forward.

So what do you think? Do the consumers have a good case this time?

How to Get Free Shipping From Amazon Without a $25 Minimum Purchase

MrConsumer is probably one of the few people in the world who has not become a member of Amazon Prime — the $119 a year membership program that provides “free” two-day shipping and a host of other benefits. He simply does not buy enough on Amazon to make purchasing the membership worthwhile.

Recently when buying an item which qualified for free shipping for non-members because it was over $25, an onscreen confirmation provided a pleasant surprise:

Amazon free shipping

It indicated that for the next 24 hours, I could place additional orders and not have to meet the $25 minimum for free shipping. What an unexpected offer.

There was some fine print, however, but nothing that significantly diluted the bonus.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Amazon free shipping detail

The key restrictions are that any new purchases have to be ones shipped by Amazon (rather than a third party) and must go to the same address as the original order.

Obviously, this loophole is a narrow exception aimed at shoppers who forgot to order some less expensive items when placing their larger orders the day before. In any event, thanks, Amazon.

Subway Tuna Case Enters Round Three

The Subway tuna saga continues with yet another filing of the case.

Last January, two California consumers sued Subway alleging that there was no tuna in their tuna sandwiches. They even had laboratory tests to prove it but refused to disclose the actual findings. (See our first story.) The story made headlines around the world.

Subway Tuna Headlines

Subsequently, various media did independent laboratory tests of their own tuna samples with varying results. (See our second story.) Inside Edition found it did contain tuna, while a later test by the New York Times did not. Subway has refuted the NYT story.

Then in June, lawyers for the consumers without explanation completely abandoned their claim that there was no tuna in Subway tuna sandwiches, and filed an amended complaint. (See our third story.) This time they claimed that Subway’s tuna was “not 100% sustainably caught skipjack and yellowfin tuna” and thus customers were being misled.

In October, a federal court judge dismissed the case against Subway saying that the consumers did not say they had even seen the claim about the specific species of tuna used, so how could they have been misled by it. (See our fourth story.)

Now, two weeks ago, believe it or not, the consumers’ lawyers refiled their case. Now they are back to claiming that consumers are being misled because there is no tuna in Subway’s tuna sandwiches. This time, however, they hired a marine biologist who conducted DNA tests on 20 samples collected from 20 different Subway locations in California. The results…

*MOUSE PRINT:

Of the twenty samples tested, nineteen of them had no detectable tuna DNA sequences whatsoever. Additionally, the test results indicate that all twenty of the samples contained detectable sequences of chicken DNA; a majority of the samples (eleven out of twenty) contained detectable sequences of pork DNA; and some of the samples (seven out of twenty) contained detectable sequences of cattle DNA.

An attorney for Subway told the Washington Post, “The plaintiffs’ latest attempt to state a claim against Subway is just as meritless as their prior attempts. These claims are false and will be proven to be completely meritless if the case gets past the pleading stage.” He also suggested that the DNA tests done were flawed because they can’t reliably identify food that has been cooked.

So in the end, maybe Jessica Simpson asked the right question in that infamous video… is this stuff fish or chicken?

We’ll keep you posted on the outcome of round three of this fishy case.