Class Puts the Squeeze on P&G

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – An unhappy class of consumers claims Procter & Gamble’s “Neat Squeeze” toothpaste dispenser leaves as much as 20 percent of the Crest in the tube, cheating them of “the full value of their purchase.”
     Lead plaintiff Jonathan Rothstein seeks damages for Procter & Gamble’s “unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business acts and practices and deceptive advertising.”
     In a lament that every tooth-brusher must have felt at some time, Rothstein states: “The benefit of the Neat Squeeze dispenser, as stated on the product’s label, is that there is less mess associated with its use. (See Exhibit 1, picture of a Neat Squeeze dispenser.)
     “The label goes on to describe how the innovative packaging works, but then fails to disclose that, due to its defective design, the consumer will be unable to dispense a significant quantity of toothpaste once the Neat Squeeze fails, as they all inevitably do. On the label’s directions, defendant explains how to properly dispense toothpaste, and how to know when it is time to purchase additional toothpaste. It states:
     “‘The Neat Squeeze dispenser has a unique inner bag that empties itself as you squeeze in the middle. When the package gets lighter and is harder to squeeze, it’s time to buy more Crest.’
     “What defendant fails to explain is that the full volume of toothpaste will not be dispensed, no matter how hard the consumer tries to squeeze. Once the dispenser becomes ‘lighter’ and is ‘harder to squeeze,’ it will no longer dispense toothpaste. At this point, the only way to access the remaining toothpaste is to cut open the packaging with scissors or a knife. However in doing so, the promise of ‘Less Mess,’ the slogan associated with the Neat Squeeze dispenser, is lost and the package is not designed or intended to be sliced open.”
     Rothstein, who bought his toothpaste at a Walgreens in Encino, claims that roughly 20 percent of the Crest was left in the tube. He calculates that he is owed 20 percent of the $4.49 retail price, or about 90 cents.
     Rothstein says he bought the toothpaste believing that its entire net weight would be “usable, when that is not in fact the case.”
     Rothstein seeks class damages for money had and received, fraudulent concealment, breach of express warranty, unfair competition, false advertising, negligent misrepresentation and violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
     He is represented by Brian Levine of Encino.

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