A proposed class action alleges Buffalo Wild Wings has deceptively imposed on consumers an additional $3.00 hidden delivery charge disguised as a “service fee” despite already charging a low “delivery fee” on each order.
According to the 13-page case, the so-called service fee is essentially an additional delivery fee since it is applied only to delivery orders placed through the Buffalo Wild Wings app or website. The lawsuit argues BWW “obscures” the nature of the added fee, and falsely represents to consumers the true cost of having food delivered.
“Because this fee is exclusively charged to delivery customers, and not to customers who order in-store or who order online and pick up their food in store, the ‘Service Fee’ is by definition a delivery fee,” the complaint reads.
The lawsuit, filed by a Chandler, Arizona resident, contends that Buffalo Wild Wings’ “hidden delivery upcharge” renders the restaurant’s advertisement of a flat $1.99 delivery fee “patently false” given the true costs of delivery are much higher. Per the case, the defendant’s misleading advertising deceives customers into making food delivery purchases they otherwise would not have made had the actual cost of the order been clearly disclosed.
According to the suit, Buffalo Wild Wings has attempted to take advantage of the growing demand for food delivery services amid the COVID-19 pandemic by promising customers a low-cost delivery fee. The flat delivery charge was advertised so prominently on BWW’s website and app that “there was no way” for customers to avoid seeing it, the case says.
The lawsuit alleges, however, that Buffalo Wild Wings’ representations of a flat delivery fee—in the plaintiff’s case, a promise to charge $1.99—are false and misleading because the restaurant also applies a $3.00 service fee exclusively to delivery orders. According to the case, the actual cost of delivery consists of the advertised delivery fee plus the service fee, which the case claims amounts to a hidden markup.
“In short, the disclosed ‘Delivery Fee’ is not actually $1.99,” the complaint says. “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 ‘Service Fee’ markup applied exclusively to delivery orders.”
The case claims that Buffalo Wild Wings, by “obscuring its true delivery costs,” has misled consumers and “gain[ed] an unfair upper hand” over competitors who truthfully disclose their delivery prices.
According to the case, “[h]undreds of thousands” of Buffalo Wild Wings customers were hit with hidden delivery costs that “they did not bargain for.”
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