A proposed class action alleges Chick-fil-A’s advertisement of a flat delivery fee is misleading given the fast food chain marks up the cost of items that are ordered for delivery.
The 17-page case claims that although Chick-fil-A represents that consumers will pay a flat “delivery fee” of either $2.99 or $3.99, the cost is “actually much higher” because the restaurant charges a “hidden food markup” for items ordered for delivery as opposed to pick-up. The lawsuit charges that Chick-fil-A has failed to disclose the true cost of its delivery service and instead “deceives consumers and gains an unfair upper hand on competitors” who fairly disclose their delivery fees.
Chick-fil-A’s alleged conduct is even more egregious given the uptick in demand for food delivery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the filing. Per the suit, the defendant’s purported low-cost delivery charge “deceives consumers into making online food purchases they otherwise would not make.”
The lawsuit claims Chick-fil-A’s flat “delivery fee” of $2.99 or $3.99 is advertised so “prominently and plainly” on its mobile application and website that there is virtually “no way” for consumers to avoid seeing the represented delivery charge. The case alleges, however, that the advertised rate is “false and misleading” given Chick-fil-A adds “a hefty 25-30%” markup to the cost of food items ordered for delivery. Importantly, the markup is not applied to items ordered for pickup through “the same app or website,” the suit adds.
Chick-fil-A, the lawsuit charges, has failed to disclose to customers this “secret markup,” which the suit alleges amounts to a hidden delivery charge since it applies only to delivery orders.
“This alone renders false Chick-fil-A’s promise of a flat, low-cost delivery fee of $2.99 or $3.99, which is made repeatedly in the app and the website, and then again in the ‘Delivery Fee’ line item on the order screen,” the complaint reads.
The case alleges Chick-fil-A’s conduct has allowed it to prevail over competitors who “fairly and prominently” represent the true costs of their delivery services.
Per the suit, the plaintiffs each viewed representations on Chick-fil-A’s website that they would be charged a flat $2.99 or $3.99 delivery fee before placing online delivery orders. Unbeknownst to the consumers, however, the cost of the items they ordered would have been up to 30 percent lower had they placed the orders for pickup instead of delivery, the suit claims. Both plaintiffs say they would not have purchased the food had they known the delivery fee was more than the represented rate.
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