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Lawsuits

Toothpaste Lawsuit: Encino Man Can't Squeeze Out Last 20 Percent of Paste From Tube, Wants His Dollar Back

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Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 5:15 PM

click to enlarge Be not fooled by its friendly exterior: This tube is (allegedly) a dud.
  • Be not fooled by its friendly exterior: This tube is (allegedly) a dud.
In trying to solve one inconvenience of toothpaste -- the mess it can unleash on your bathroom sink -- it looks like Procter & Gamble may have created a whole new monster [Courthouse News Service].

At least, that's the indignant claim of Encino man Jonathan Rothstein, who's leading a class-action lawsuit against the hygiene empire, re: the impossibility of accessing the last 20 percent of paste from its Crest "Neat Squeeze" tubes.

"The full volume of toothpaste will not be dispensed, no matter how hard the consumer tries to squeeze..."

... reads the lawsuit. (Though we're not entirely convinced it isn't a seven-months-early April Fool's joke.) The excruciating details of a consumer's plight:

"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 says he sees right through Procter & Gamble's money-making ploy. By preventing tooth-brushers from getting at the last of the tube, the company in effect "sells more units of toothpaste, whether in the Neat Squeeze dispenser or other container, than it otherwise would if the entire volume of toothpaste in the package could be used."

click to enlarge IDEO
Procter & Gamble describes the offending tube's technology as such:

"When the sides of the Neat Squeeze are squeezed, the pressure forces the toothpaste out of the nozzle. When the squeezing stops, a valve in the nozzle closes, which keeps air from getting in the bag. A valve in the bottom of the bottle also keeps air from going out of the Neat Squeeze bottle and puts pressure on the bag during squeezing.

As you use the Neat Squeeze, the pressure from squeezing the bottle causes the bag to invert, to nearly empty all of the toothpaste. You'll be able to get as much product out of the Neat Squeeze as you can from a tube of the same size."

Rothstein, of course, begs to differ. He purchased his big Neat Squeeze disappointment at the Walgreens in Encino last month for about $4.50. Because he found 20 percent of it to be unusable, he's asking that the "hundreds of thousands" of shoppers who did the same be reimbursed 90 cents for that last pull of paste that never reached their brushes.

Plus attorney's fees, and full restitution for all the money Procter & Gamble made under false advertising. In other words: The head plaintiff will kindly clean up for all those Neat Squeeze customers who don't think 90 cents is worth the paperwork.

Because what kind of country would this be, should we not demand both a clean bathroom sink and full squeezing powers from our Walgreens purchases?

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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