Understanding the power and limits of abnormal use

In recent years, there has been a rise in cases that stem from abnormal use of consumer products. The question is, what constitutes abnormal use? One of the best cases to look it to see how complex this issue can be are any of the ones involving energy drinks along with the precedent setting case Coca Cola won about their advertising.


When Coke was challenged they came out the winner

consumer case lawA consumer case was brought against the Coca Cola bottling company claiming that their advertising was misleading and during the case even a DUI attorney San Diego was needed to be brought in at one point to help resolve it. It presented Coke products, most notably their Vitamin Water as a health product. When consumers relied on it for health benefits they did not experience any. Coca Cola’s defense was that you would have to be delusional as a consumer to believe that any product they made was healthy. Relying on Vitamin Water as a part of your health regimen implied abnormal use by the consumer. The courts agreed. That case also bears looking at for the intricacies on the ruling and how they apply to misleading advertising.


Slightly different, but very much the same

Along come popular energy drinks that promise to deliver an energy boost. Most of them do this through the addition of high levels of caffeine. Some consumers who have consumed copious amounts of the drinks have experienced heart attacks, palpitations and other cardiac related issues. Consumers repeatedly file suits against the companies saying that there is not adequate warning on the labels of the potential effects of too much consumption. Companies argue back that the products are advertised as a quick energy boost, not a way to sustain energy and that drinking more than one constitutes abnormal use. According to Brian Musell Attorney, so far the courts have ruled in the companies favor.


What is abnormal use?

Abnormal use is defined as use beyond the intended use of the product by the manufacturer, it does not account for the implied use suggested by clever marketing. It is assumed that the consumer will use fair judgment and common sense in the use of the product along the guidelines stated on the label – not the advertising – for the product.