In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Burger King to Pay for 'Modified' Sandwiches

Buy-one-get-one-free deals can be really costly if your company sells a ton of them.

It's not the typical loss-leader sales; it's the typical class-action lawsuits. In Burger King's case, it was a $4 breakfast sandwich that turned into $185,000 in attorney's fees and $10,000 in expenses.

That's how much the company has agreed to pay the plaintiffs' attorneys, plus $5 or a $2 gift card for customers who claim they were overcharged for a modified sandwich. Guess that's what happens when a company says you can have it your way.

Modified Croissan'wich

Customers who used a BOGO coupon to order a Croissan'wich -- but got a cheaper version without egg or other ingredients -- between Oct. 1, 2015, and May 19, 2017, can file a claim. The deadline is January 19.

Fortunately for customers who bought the "fake" sandwiches, they won't have to cough up the ingredients to get a piece of the settlement. Burger King has already figured out the problem.

The company denied any wrongdoing, but determined that a problem occurred when a specific point-of-sale system was used. The system has been updated with instructions that operators "manually select the lower-priced of the two purchased Croissan'wich before pressing the appropriate coupon button on the register screen," the company reportedly said.

Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, which filed the class-action, said Burger King charged customers more than what the restaurant would pay to make a regular Croissan'wich. The modified versions came without egg, cheese or meat.

Class-Action Limitations

While companies continue to deal with large class-actions based on small claims, legislation is paring back some lawsuits.

Last summer, the Senate killed a proposal to allow class-actions against banks in lieu of arbitration. Meanwhile, the Republican-led legislature continues to push laws that would narrow class-actions and other measures aimed at tort reform.

During consideration of the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley said it was time for an "overdue checkup" of the civil justice system.

"I'm all the more frustrated when our legal system -- and the rules that govern it -- is abused, bogged down with meritless claims, or twisted to benefit some at the expense of others," he said. "I'm frustrated when this system is used not to correct a harm, but to inflict one."

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