Two people who say their recent purchases of Wise potato chips came less than half full are taking their grievances to court.
On Monday, the duo of Samelina Alce and Desiré Nugent filed a federal class action lawsuit against the snack company Wise Foods, Inc., claiming it deceived customers by barely filling its bags of potato chips.
Alce, of New York, and Nugent, of Washington, D.C., both claim they were "financially injured" when they bought bags of Wise Golden Original potato chips and Honey BBQ potato chips they claim were less than half full. The filing said the bags cost $1.94 and $2 respectively.
"When consumers purchase a package of (Wise's) Products," the complaint said, "they are getting less product than they bargained for, effectively they are being tricked into paying for air."
Alce and Nugent claimed five counts, including unjust enrichment, and requested compensatory and punitive damages.
It all comes down to something called slack fill, a term for packaging filler used to account for settling in the shipping process. There's functional slack-fill, necessary to ensure a product is functional, the filing said, and non-functional slack-fill, "which serves no legitimate purpose."
It's the latter that sparked Alce and Nugent's lawsuit. The 49-page filing includes several photos of opened Wise potato chip bags and products of their competitors with rulers measuring the space from the chips to the top of the bag. The experiment found Wise bags often were half empty, with some bags measuring up to 75% empty. A bag of competitor Ruffles Oven Baked Original chips was less than 40% empty.
"Competitors use bags that are simultaneously smaller than (Wise) product bags and contain more chips than them," the filing said. "This is compelling proof that (Wise's) bags contain non-functional slack fill, i.e. that its product bags are oversized relative to the quantity of chips they contain."
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Others on Twitter have complained about how many chips are in a Wise bag.