If you’re a frequent fast-food eater, or even if you like the occasional Big Mac, you’ve more than likely ordered a value meal that gets you a sandwich, fries, and drink in one package deal. This is not only make the ordering process easier (“lemme get a no. 2 with some Mac sauce”) it presumably saves you some cash as well. But a new lawsuit claims that the company’s “Extra Value Meal” is false advertising.
In Chicago, a lawsuit filed last week claims that McDonald’s restaurants in the Cook County circuit charge more for a value meal than when the items it entails are purchased individually, the Daily Herald reports. According to the man behind the suit, James Gertie, the two-cheeseburger value meal actually costs 41 cents more than when the two cheeseburgers, medium fries, and soft drink are ordered separately.
Because of this, his suit charges consumer fraud and deceptive practices. Gertie told the newspaper: “The reason that I am doing this is not about the 41 cents. It’s because of the principle. A value meal is supposed to be a cheaper price. That’s the whole point of a ‘value’ meal. I believe in the principle of true advertising. If a company advertises something to be a value, then that is what it should be.”
Gertie said he contacted Chicago attorney Paul Markoff after not receiving explanations at the drive-through or from an email he sent to McDonald’s corporate offices about the price discrepancy.
So far, neither the franchisee owner of the locations in questions nor McDonald’s corporate has responded to the suit. The marketing material surrounding the Extra Value Meal doesn’t specifically state that the price is lower than individual item purchases. It reads: “You value food just as much as you value a good price. Thanks to our delicious meal bundles, you can have both. A meal with quality ingredients that’s easy on the wallet? That’s a great deal.”
The case has yet to move forward in the court system, but if a judge grants it class-action status, damages can be sought on behalf of customers who purchased the two-cheeseburger meal. For now, you might want do some quick math before you buy into value meals at any fast-food chains for the foreseeable future.