Tuesday, April 10, 2018

we said the meal was a "value," we just didn't say to whom

Killeen v. McDonald’s Corp., 2018 WL 1695366, No. 17 CV 874 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 6, 2018)

Courts will only rarely protect consumers against their inability in the moment to do math; this is not one of those times. Killeen alleged that some of McDonald’s “Extra Value” meals were actually more expensive than ordering the same items separately, and that this was deceptive. For example, Killeen bought a Sausage Burrito Extra Value Meal at a Chicago McDonald’s for $5.08 when she would have paid only $4.97 had she ordered the individual items a la carte. “[C]ommon experience favors her assertion that consumers expect to pay less for items bundled together and billed as a ‘value’ package than they would pay if they purchased the items separately.” But there can be no deception where other information is readily available to dispel the tendency to believe in savings:

[A]nyone familiar with fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s surely knows that prices are typically displayed on menus located near the registers. Understandably, plaintiff may not have wished to take the time to compare prices, but there is no question that doing so would have dispelled the deception on which her claims are based. Accordingly, this is not a case in which consumers would have to consult an ingredients list or other fine print to determine whether prominent images or labels a defendant uses in connection with its product accurately reflect the product’s true nature or quality.

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