LOS ANGELES (CN) – A class action claims KFC reneged on an offer of a free grilled chicken sandwich after a promotion on the Oprah Winfrey Show was so popular that people lined up across the country, demanding “millions” of the sandwiches. The class calls the KFC promo a “classic example of a bait and switch.”
KFC ran the promo on the May 5 Oprah show, and told customers they could download a coupon from Oprah’s Web site for the next 24 hours, according to the Superior Court complaint. The coupon would entitle people to a free Kentucky Grilled Chicken meal – the sandwich, two side orders and a biscuit.
The demand was so great KFC extended it for a day and moved the downloadable to its own Web site. But on May 7, KFC started backing out of the deal, the class claims. First it said it would not honor the coupons “today,” but offered a rain check. Then it said people had to exchange the downloaded coupons for a rain check, “which will be redeemable at a later date for a two-week period.” It also demand that requests for rain checks be accompanied by a downloaded coupon and presented or mailed to a KFC outlet by May 19, according to a KFC press release cited in the complaint.
The class claims these terms and conditions are more onerous than the original offer, and will deprive many people of their free sandwiches. They claim KFC knew that people would be lured to a restaurant by the offer, and when their coupons were refused, would buy something. It calls that a “classic example of a bait and switch.”
The class demands punitive damages for fraud, misrepresentation and unfair trade. It is represented by Adam Gutride with Gutride Safier of San Francisco.