Toy company fined for deceptive packaging

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego mother teamed up with the District Attorney and City Attorney to fight back against a toymaker with deceptive packaging.

Gabriela Brannan contacted the City Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit after the Disney Princess Jewelry Kit her 6-year-old daughter Gabi purchased was nearly empty.

Stickers on the kit’s outer packaging covered empty compartments, deceiving them and possible other consumers, Brannan said.

“She was like ‘oh my goodness mommy, I thought there was going to be a lot more,'” Brannan said.

Gabi’s anger prompted Brannan contact the City Attorney’s office.

“I actually gasped – you look at it and you just don’t expect it to be empty,” said Assistant City Attorney Tricia Pummel.

On Thursday, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith announced a $225,000 judgment against toymaker Horizon USA, a New Jersey based company behind the kit.

“We wanted to sound the alarm so that as we go into the holiday season people really make sure they are diligent when they go shopping,” said Dumanis.

Dumanis warns diligence begins with three simple rules:

  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • If you’re not sure, always ask or do research on the product before purchasing it.
  • Ask about return policies.

Brannan said she’s learned her lesson, but she hopes the judgment against Horizon will teach other companies a lesson.

“Hopefully, these companies will really think twice about the way they package products and attract consumers,” said Brannan

The Disney Princess Jewelry Kit has since been pulled off the shelves in California.  The judgment is only limited to the state of California.