Chocolate makers in hot water; General Motors halts production

Fox Business Briefs: California prosecutors fine Ghirardelli and Russell Stover $750,000 for misleading customers because their packaging was either too big or mostly empty; General Motors suspends production at several Michigan plants after a request from Consumers Energy.

Have you ever opened a large box of chocolates and were disappointed by the small pieces of sweets inside?

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Well, you are not alone.

Candy makers Ghirardelli and Russell Stover were slapped with a $750,000 fine last week after they were sued in California for alleging misleading customers by selling chocolate products in oversized containers that were “predominantly empty.”

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The civil complaint, which was filed by California prosecutors, alleged that the two companies, who fall under common ownership of Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprungli, packaged certain chocolate products in oversized packaging to deceive consumers into thinking they were purchasing more chocolate than they were actually receiving.

Additionally, the lawsuit alleged that Ghirardelli was selling one chocolate product containing less cocoa than advertised.

Without admitting any wrongdoing, both firms agreed to pay the $750,000 in fines and improve their packaging practices. Some packages are now expected to shrink or have a transparent window so customers can look inside.

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“Consumers have the right to expect full value in their purchases and compliance with packaging requirements is an integral part of the process. We will continue to aggressively monitor businesses and prosecute those that violate consumer protection laws,” Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a statement.