LOS ANGELES (CN) – With the introduction of Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new grilled chicken, the company announced on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that it would give customers a free meal and then reneged on the promise, according to a class action filed Wednesday.
In an effort to promote its new grilled chicken in early May, KFC said it would give anyone who went to Oprah’s website and printed out a “free” meal coupon, a meal consisting of two pieces of chicken, two sides and a biscuit.
The promotion was so popular KFC announced an extension of the free meal deal for another day and moved the coupon to its own Web site.
After the first day of honoring the coupons, the franchise limited its offer to the first 100 customers at each store during a business day.
Customers who had gone on the site, downloaded the coupon, printed it out and then drove to KFC were told that the offer stood as long as supplies lasted and were given a “rain check” to get their chicken at a later date. The stores then continued to sell grilled chicken and sides for the rest of the day.
Customers represented in the suit say that the offer was designed to lure them to KFC during hungry times with the false impression of receiving a free meal. When they were told that the offer could not be honored, they were hungry and had driven there so they went ahead and bought KFC’s food.
The plaintiff’s further allege in their Los Angeles Superior Court filing that the “rain check” offer was meant to discourage people from redeeming the meal because the process was long, drawn out, and costly to customers.
Plaintiffs want restitution, an injunction and penalties against KFC for engaging in unfair and deceptive business practices.
Plaintiffs are represented by Adam J. Gutride and Seth A. Safier.