A proposed class action lawsuit alleges Chick-Fil-A has misleadingly advertised free or low-cost delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic despite imposing a hidden delivery charge by way of inflated food prices.
The 17-page case states that although Chick-Fil-A promises free or low-price delivery, the fast food giant fails to disclose that food prices for delivery orders are marked up by “a hefty 25-30%.” According to the case, this upcharge makes Chick-Fil-A’s promise of free or low-price delivery “patently false” given the markup is essentially a hidden delivery cost.
“In short, the ‘Delivery Fee’ is not actually $2.99 or $3.99,” the complaint argues. “The actual ‘Delivery Fee’—the extra charge for having food delivered as opposed to picking it up—is the listed ‘Delivery Fee’ plus the hidden food markup applied exclusively to delivery orders. Chick-fil-A does not inform consumers the true costs of its delivery service and it misrepresents its ‘Delivery Fee’ as $2.99 or $3.99, when in fact that cost is actually much higher.”
The lawsuit claims that Chick-Fil-A’s allegedly misleading delivery costs have tricked customers into making online food purchases they otherwise would not have made.
According to the case, the defendant first offered delivery services in 2019 for a “transparent delivery fee” of $4.99. At that time, menu prices were the same regardless of whether an order was placed for pickup or delivery, the suit relays.
Per the case, the COVID-19 pandemic created for Chick-Fil-A an “opportunity for exploitation.” The lawsuit says the restaurant began advertising “free,” $2.99 or $3.99 delivery fees in order to compete in what became an overcrowded delivery market. Unbeknownst to customers, however, Chick-Fil-A also began to raise menu prices by 25 to 30 percent for delivery orders only as a means to cover costs and generate a profit, the case alleges.
Per the suit, this “manipulation” of pricing was never disclosed to customers, and it was “impossible” for them to discover the markup themselves given Chick-Fil-A’s app and website were designed to show menu prices only after a customer chooses between delivery and pickup, the case says.
“Instead of fairly and transparently disclosing this change to its customers—who were already under tremendous stress from the pandemic—Chick-fil-A chose to operate in the shadows,” the complaint reads. “It continued to make a clear promise that the total, marginal cost of having food delivered versus picking it up in store was represented by a new FREE or $2.99 or $3.99 Delivery Fee. But because it secretly inflated menu prices on delivery orders only, and never informed customers of this policy, it misrepresented the true cost of delivery.”
The case charges that “hundreds of thousands” of Chick-Fil-A customers have been duped by the fast-food company’s alleged misrepresentations regarding the cost of delivery.
The lawsuit looks to cover anyone in Florida who, within the applicable statute of limitations period and until the date of class certification, ordered food delivery through the Chick-Fil-A mobile app or website and was assessed a higher delivery charge than represented.
The suit was initially filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on May 19 before being removed to Florida’s Southern District Court on June 21, 2022.
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