Playtex Diaper Genie Refills Provide Far Less than ‘One-Year Supply’ of Bags, Class Action Alleges
A proposed class action alleges Angelcare USA and Playtex Products have misleadingly advertised certain Diaper Genie refill cartridges in that the products do not provide a one-year supply of diaper disposal bags as promised.
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The 60-page lawsuit says that although the companies market eight-packs of refill cartridges as providing a “1 YEAR SUPPLY” of bag refills for the Diaper Genie, a popular odor-controlling baby diaper disposal system, the “vast majority of consumers” receive only a “small fraction” of what they paid for.
Specifically, the Diaper Genie refills, which consumers are led to believe can help streamline the diaper-changing process, hold only around 2,160 newborn-size diapers, far fewer than the roughly 3,000 diapers experts estimate a baby will use in their first year, the lawsuit says.
“The deception is stark, and preys on new parents yearning to simplify their lives, believing that they are buying a product that will ensure they do not have to repeatedly run to the store to buy more diaper disposal bags,” the suit, filed on January 30 in Connecticut, reads.
Companies capitalized on parents’ demand for value and simplicity, lawsuit claims
Angelcare and Playtex, two of the biggest names in the baby care industry, developed the Playtex Baby Diaper Genie in 2005 and quickly saw it grow to be the “#1 Selling Diaper Pail Brand” in the country, the filing explains. In 2020, the suit says, the global baby disposal diaper market topped around $43 billion, a valuation that’s expected to increase over the next decade.
The Playtex Baby Diaper Genie is a diaper disposal pail designed to limit odors and allow consumers to easily switch out bags containing used diapers with fresh bags via a built-in sealing mechanism and refill cartridge, the filing begins. The refill cartridge issues a continuous ream of plastic bags into which dirty diapers are placed, after which a full bag is then tied off and cut for disposal, the lawsuit relays. Consumers can then release more plastic from the circular cartridge to form a new bag until the refill cartridge is used up, the suit says, describing the pull-and-cut system as essentially a “diaper sausage” maker.
As the suit tells it, diaper pail systems like the Playtex Baby Diaper Genie appeal to new parents looking to make diaper changing as easy as possible. Broadly, consumers are attracted to baby care products whose advertising centers on simplicity, and according to the complaint, the defendants “have certainly capitalized on that demand.”
Per the case, the Diaper Genie bag refill cartridges are available in packs of one to eight, and all suffer from the same mislabeling. The lawsuit specifies that although the refill products with fewer than eight cartridges are not tagged with the “1 YEAR SUPPLY” claim, the products’ labels nevertheless maintain that each refill cartridge “HOLDS UP TO 270 DIAPERS.” The case says this claim is effectively identical regardless of whether a package of refills bears the “1 YEAR SUPPLY” claim or the number of cartridges in any given pack.
A chart on the side panel of the products purports to estimate how many diapers each refill can hold based on a baby’s weight, the case shares. According to the lawsuit, the chart provided by the defendants reveals that the claim of holding up to 270 diapers applies only to the diaper size of newborns 10 pounds or smaller.
Based on this math, the products’ labeling implies that a newborn baby would use 5.92 diapers in a day, and at the other end of the spectrum, a baby above 27 pounds would use just 2.35 diapers per day, the suit says. The lawsuit contests that “[e]xperts, academia, pediatricians” and the companies’ own competitors concur that “most babies require far more diapers—roughly twice as many—than Defendants have budgeted in their equations.” In fact, most experts estimate that young babies use up to 12 diapers a day and eventually average around six per day over the relevant years, the complaint adds.
“[C]onsumers would effectively have to buy two of Defendants’ ‘1 YEAR SUPPLY’ of Refill Cartridges to dispose of an average year of diapers,” the filing argues.
Further, the lawsuit contests that as a child grows older and bigger and, consequently, produces more waste, the number of diapers that can fit in a refill cartridge will decrease. The products’ year-supply representation is calculated based on newborn diaper use, “[b]ut, of course, no baby stays an infant for an entire year,” the suit says.
According to the lawsuit, most parents use anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 disposable diapers in their baby’s first year, and at $0.20 to $0.30 a piece, diapers might cost around $500 to $900 annually. The suit stresses that because of the high cost of diapers, parents are “constantly looking for ways to save money” on the products. The marketing of the Playtex Baby Diaper Genie refill cartridges as a full year supply of bags thus caters to consumers’ desire for high-value bulk items, the case points out.
Unfortunately for buyers, however, it is estimated that “an average baby will need to dispose of roughly twice as many diapers as can physically fit in Defendants’ purported ‘1 YEAR SUPPLY’ of Refill Cartridges,” the complaint contends.
A “classic bait-and-switch scheme,” case alleges
The products’ alleged mislabeling has brought Angelcare and Playtex under fire and “drawn the attention and ire” of consumers across the United States, the complaint relays.
As the filing tells it, scores of angry reviews litter websites where the products at issue are sold. One review appearing on a product’s Amazon page states that the consumer “[w]ent through two of these supposed year supplies by 6 months,” the lawsuit says. Another review called the product a “ripoff,” and similar grievances were aired on the websites of Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Buy Buy Baby, where another consumer complained that the product provided “nowhere close to a year supply” of diaper bags, the case shares.
“Defendants employ a classic bait-and-switch scheme by promising more product than is actually delivered to unsuspecting consumers,” the suit alleges.
The plaintiffs in this case each purchased eight-packs of the diaper pail refill cartridges at around $47.99 from Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby or other retailers between March 2021 and August 2022, the filing says. The products all purportedly ran out within four months of normal use, and two plaintiffs’ supplies lasted just under a month—a far cry from the year supply promised by the defendants, the suit charges.
Who’s covered by the lawsuit?
The case looks to represent anyone in the United States who purchased any Playtex Baby Diaper Genie refill product since January 30, 2019.
How do I join the lawsuit?
Typically, there’s nothing you need to do to join or add your name to a class action lawsuit when it’s first filed. The time to act is if and when the lawsuit settles, at which time people covered by the settlement—known as class members—may receive direct notice of the deal via email or regular mail with instructions on what to do next.
Remember, it often takes months or even years for a class action lawsuit to be resolved.
If you’ve bought Diaper Genie diaper bag refill cartridges, or simply want to stay in the loop on class action lawsuit and settlement news, sign up for ClassAction.org’s free weekly newsletter.
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