Toy company fined for deceptive packaging

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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.


  • Ryan

    I’m sorry. I just watched the story regarding the toy packaging in question. It’s hard to have sympathy for the mother involved. The packaging clearly states the contents included on the front and the back. After the princess photos, this was the next thing I noticed. I’m all for “Buyer Beware” but at least take the time to read the label before you waste the time of politicians to take up your battles.

  • Sal

    I agree, if the label says what's in the package, there's nothing to be upset about it. The first thing I thought when I saw the empty compartments was that it's a jewelry kit that includes compartments for storing projects.

  • Sean

    I understand that it is the Holliday season and people need money but this is the most unethical way to get it. Read the package and do your reaserch because we all know that these companies try to trick us with small writing and big commercials but a $225,000 judgement is a little overboard don’t you think?

  • thechurchofchrismartin

    I would think that the District Attorney & City Attorney would have FAR MORE IMPORTANT FISH to FRY than going after a toy manufacturer. This is an important story but not for the toy company shortchanging some kids. IT SHOWS JUST HOW LAME DOPEY DUMANIS & TROLL GOLDSMITH REALLY ARE! Shameful waste of resources. Next time try going after some gang members or rapists. Oh wait, that is too much trouble.

  • Dana Caffrey

    Thank you for posting this information with us. Toy company should be really cautous with the packaging especially that holiday season is coming. This should be a lesson to everybody.

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