Rubbermaid Incorporated has falsely and misleadingly advertised its line of coolers as able to retain ice for days on end, a proposed class action alleges.
The 25-page complaint says Rubbermaid coolers labeled “4 Day” through “7 Day” cannot retain ice for the period of time represented to consumers, and that the defendant has thus relied on “misleading and unsubstantiated claims” in representing the products’ capabilities.
“Defendant has led Plaintiff and reasonable consumers to believe that the Products will retain ice for a certain period of time,” the case says, echoing previous suits filed against cooler makers the Coleman Company and Igloo Products Corp. “In doing so, Defendant falsely represented that the Product will retain ice for the aforementioned period of time during normal use.”
The plaintiff, an Orange County, New York resident, claims to have relied on Rubbermaid’s label representations in purchasing the 102-quart Marine Cooler. The consumer alleges the product simply did not perform as represented on its labeling, claiming she would not have bought the cooler had she known the truth about Rubbermaid’s apparent “misrepresentations and omissions.”
Among the ice-retention representations on certain Rubbermaid coolers is the claim that one model, for instance, “Keeps ice up to 5 Days @ 90 degrees,” according to the case. Despite what the label on the product states, the message, the lawsuit says, “wrongfully conveys” that the product will with 130 cans and 15 pounds of ice “keep ice” for five days. The labeling on Rubbermaid’s 102-quart cooler claims the product, in addition to keeping ice for five days at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, has the capacity to hold 170 pounds of fish and 30 pounds ice, the case adds.
According to the lawsuit, however, Rubbermaid is “mistakenly implying” that the cooler will keep ice for longer than it actually can.
The suit goes on to pick apart the terms “keeps ice” or “retains ice” as they’re used by Rubbermaid, as the two can have a “diverse meaning to different groups of people.” Under the dictionary definition of “keep,” the case says, any ice in a Rubbermaid cooler “should remain in a solid state of matter.” Contrary to Rubbermaid’s representations, ice begins to change its composition as soon as it is removed from a condition with a temperature higher than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, at which point the ice will begin to melt and turn into water “unless the cooler has a temperature lower than the freezing point,” the lawsuit says.
“Simply put, ice cannot ‘keep’ the solid state for more than a few moments, let alone the claimed amount of days,” the suit argues. “Therefore, Defendant’s claim ‘keeps ice’ for a specified amount of days fails under the scientific interpretation.”
In line with this, a consumer’s definition of “keeps ice” amounts to the time period from when ice is initially placed in a Rubbermaid cooler and when the ice becomes “fully non-functional” upon losing most of its ability to keep items chilled, the lawsuit says. The complaint claims reviews for the products are “less than stellar,” with consumers voicing online that their coolers “keep ice” for “less than a few hours under normal use.”
In contrast, the lawsuit avers Rubbermaid has a “perplexing interpretation” of what “keeps ice” means, one that allegedly does not jibe with how the company’s coolers are used by consumers:
“Defendant’s definition of ‘keeps ice’ appears to be the amount of days it takes for most or all of the ice to be melted into water. Aside from the wrong interpretation, Defendant performs the test in an ideal condition that in no way simulate [sic] normal consumer use of the Products.”
According to the lawsuit, Rubbermaid utilizes on certain coolers disclaimers that note the product can keep ice “up to” the claimed number of days stated on the label. The suit contends, however, that this disclaimer is deceptive and misleading and amounts to “self-serving statements intended to avoid transparency.”
The lawsuit looks to represent consumers across the United States who bought one or more Rubbermaid coolers labeled “4 Day” to “7 Day.”
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