Calculating Overpayments In False Ad Class Actions
Over the past decade, there has been a notable increase in the number of class actions brought against manufacturers of food and consumer packaged goods, specifically with respect to allegations of false claims in advertising and product labeling. In such cases, plaintiffs typically allege that consumers were harmed because they paid higher prices than they would have paid had they possessed complete information.
Plaintiffs experts have frequently proposed conjoint survey analysis as a method that can be used to determine the price premium consumers allegedly paid as a result of the false claims. Based on the theory that a product is the combination of multiple individual attributes, conjoint analysis is a survey-based technique that can help measure respondents' stated preferences for those attributes.
Survey participants are asked to choose between products with varying combinations of features, including price. If designed and implemented properly, the analysis can potentially help determine respondents' perceived preferences for individual product features — including, presumably, the falsely advertised feature.
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