Extra McDonald’s Combo Meal Fee Sparks Federal Lawsuit

You deserve a break today (photo credit: Ratana21 / Shutterstock.com)

A Southern California man is suing McDonald’s USA, LLC for allegedly engaging in false advertising and deceptive practices by adding an unannounced small charge for breakfast combo meals.

Paul Bledsoe claims the fast-food giant advertised a pre-tax charge of $5.10 for an Egg McMuffin, hash browns plus coffee, but on three occasions in 2017 the company added a 29-cent “drink up-charge.”

“The aforementioned representations were false, misleading and outright deceptive,” Bledsoe’s complaint states while asserting violations of California’s Consumer Legal Remedies Act. “Defendant’s service does not meet the standards for which defendant represented. . . Plaintiff had no reasonable opportunity to uncover such deception prior to transacting with the defendants.”

If Bledsoe is right, McDonald’s took more than $130,500,000 in unfair profits.

But McDonald’s lawyers at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP rejected a confidential settlement proposal in late September, disputed the allegations and moved the case from the superior court to The United States District Court for the Central District of California.

Those same lawyers say it “appears” the plaintiff wants restitution of $5.39 ($5.10 plus the $.29 drink upcharge) for all 450 million combo meals sold in California during the last four years, a calculation that might put the company on the hook for $2.425 billion if they lose the case.

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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