Two-for-One Burger King Offer Packs a Wallop

BALTIMORE (CN) — In a whopper of a federal class action against Burger King, a patron says the chain padded its margins for a buy-one-get-one offer on its breakfast Croissan’wich.

Koleta Anderson, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, brought her consumer-deception charge on May 2, saying she has been comparing Croissan’wich prices with and without coupons since March.

“The terms of Burger King’s buy-one-get-one-free deal are well known to American consumers: buy one product at its standard price, and receive a second for free,” the 35-page complaint. “But Burger King’s BOGO promotion works a little differently.”

At three different Burger King locations in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia, Anderson says she presented BOGO Croissan’wich coupons, paid the charge, and then returned to the counter to order a single sandwich without the coupon.

As documented by the receipts included in the 35-page complaint, Burger King charged Anderson a different amount every time, both for BOGO sandwiches and single orders.

Anderson saw the biggest discrepancy at a location on D.C.’s Connecticut Avenue, where a single sausage, egg and cheese on a croissant costs just a dollar, but is $4.19 when ordered with a two-for-one coupon.

In Alexandria, Anderson says she paid $2.99 before tax for the BOGO Croissan’wich, and just $1.79 for a single sausage croissant.

Anderson’s attorney even dispatched an investigator to see what Burger King was up to in Lantana, Florida. The complaint says the Burger King there charged $3.45 before tax for the BOGO offer, and $2.29 for a single Croissan’wich order.

“Burger King’s nationwide BOGO scheme is deceptive to reasonable consumers who expect that, when using a BOGO coupon at any retail store or restaurant, absent any exclusions or other terms and conditions, they will pay the same regular price for two identical Croissan’wiches as they would pay to purchase a single Croissan’wich,” the complaint states.

Founded in 1954, Miami-based Burger King is the world’s second-largest fast-food hamburger chain, serving more than 11 million consumers every day.

In 2010, private-equity firm 3G Capital of Brazil acquired a majority stake of Burger King for $3.26 billion. The complaint notes that 3G later merged Burger King “with the Canadian-based doughnut chain Tim Hortons, under the auspices of a new Canadian-based parent company named Restaurant Brands International.”

Burger King did not return a request for comment.

The class seeks more than $5 million in damages. It is represented by WilliamSinclair of the Baltimore firm Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White. Named partner Steven Silverman declined to comment on the suit.

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