Last Monday, Taco Bell Corp. found itself entangled in a class action lawsuit filed in New York federal court. The plaintiff, Frank Siragusa, accuses the fast-food chain of deceptive advertising practices pertaining to some of its signature menu items.
The lawsuit highlights that Taco Bell’s promotional advertisements and menu displays, specifically for the Crunchwrap Supreme, Grande Crunchwrap, Vegan Crunchwrap, Mexican Pizza, and Veggie Mexican Pizza, portray these items as containing more than twice the actual amount of ingredients. This misleading portrayal of the food items has resulted in financial harm to consumers who receive products significantly lower in value than what was promised.
“Consumers are exposed to Taco Bell’s advertising for these products that portray one thing, and are receiving a far inferior product after purchasing the items. And as most people realize with fast food orders, you do not get to see the food items until you have already paid for it. Taco Bell should be providing what it is advertising and it is hard to argue otherwise,” said Robert Abiri, the head of the consumer protection practice group at Custodio & Dubey LLP.
After seeing advertisements both online and in-store, Siragusa purchased a Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell, expecting the meal to contain a substantial amount of meat and beans as depicted. However, upon receiving the order, he claims to have found only half of the beef and bean filling he anticipated, according to the lawsuit.
“As can be seen from the Complaint itself, the images Taco Bell puts forward for these items look substantially different than what consumers actually receive,” Robert said. “In fact, the complaint alleges that the ingredients are almost half of what is represented in the pictures.”
The class action represents not only Siragusa, but also a proposed class of consumers who bought one of the allegedly falsely advertised menu items from a Taco Bell location in New York since July 31, 2020.
Robert went on to explain, “While some variability is expected to occur in the preparation of food items, here it is quite different because (1) the actual items and the pictured items are not just slightly different, they are considerably different, and (2) it does not seem to be an isolated incident according to the Complaint, as it seems there are a lot of consumer complaints about these shortcomings.”
As this legal battle unfolds, it highlights the substantial implications for false advertising in the food industry, emphasizing the need for transparency and fairness in all business practices.
“Of course, we are in the very early stages of litigation and Taco Bell may have a good defense. Nonetheless, class actions such as these are usually the only way to get a corporation as large as Taco Bell to rectify deceptive marketing and practices,” continued Robert.