Duracell and Procter & Gamble Sued for Deceptive Marketing

A federal class action lawsuit has been filed against Duracell, Inc. and The Procter & Gamble Company in the United State District Court in California alleging that defendants engaged in a deceptive marketing scheme to mislead consumers as to the battery life of the Duracell Ultra Advanced and Duracell Ultra Power batteries. According to the complaint, Duracell and Proctor & Gamble allegedly concealed and misrepresented material facts as to the actual battery life of their batteries in violation of California law, causing consumers to pay a premium price for batteries that did not have materially longer battery life than Duracell's lower-priced alkaline batteries.

Duracell marketed its Ultra Advanced batteries on packaging and its website to have "up to 30% more power in toys" than its Ultra Digital batteries and encouraged consumers to buy Ultra Advanced batteries when using high drain devices. When Duracell began phasing out its Ultra Advanced line of batteries in favor of its Ultra Power line, it claimed that its Ultra Power batteries were its "longest lasting" batteries and that such batteries should be used only "when it matters most" rather than for everyday use.

The lawsuit states that"[d]efendants conspicuously failed to disclose that Ultra Advanced and Ultra Power branded batteries provided no material difference in battery life from any of their other alkaline battery products" and that such omissions materially mislead consumers. The lawsuit claims that defendants engaged in false advertising and unfair, fraudulent and unlawful conduct in violation of the California Business and Professional Code, California False Advertising Law and Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

The lawsuit is brought on behalf of anyone who purchased Duracell Ultra Advanced or Duracell Ultra Power batteries in California during the last four years. Plaintiffs are requesting that defendants make full restitution to the class of consumers harmed by such conduct, as well as pre-judgment and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees and costs, and that defendants be enjoined from further misleading consumers about their battery products.

Companies should avoid charging a premium for a similar, competing product that fails to deliver additional benefits. The risk of regulatory sanctions or class action claims like this one should deter companies from marketing and selling such similar goods.

For more information on our Class Action Defense practice click here.

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