A federal judge in Chicago has thrown out a class-action lawsuit claiming that McDonald’s Extra Value Meals weren’t in fact a good value. The lawsuit alleged that the fast food chain was tricking customers into purchasing its value meal for more money than what the individual components would cost if bought a la carte, according to the Associated Press.
The filing was originally made on behalf of customer Kelly Killeen who said they had purchased a sausage burrito breakfast Extra Value Meal at a location in Chicago for $5.08. The “value meal” name and pricing was deceptive to consumers, Killeen claimed, because those same items — two sausage burritos, hash browns, and a coffee — could be ordered individually for $4.97.
United States District Court judge Elaine E. Bucklo, however, wasn’t buying the plaintiff’s argument. In an opinion issued with the case’s dismissal on April 6, Bucklo admits that the use of the term “value” does signal to consumers that there should be some savings from purchasing the deal. However, the prices of the individual pieces of the meal were readily available to Killeen and other McDonald’s customers. “Here, a straightforward, price-to-price comparison based on information available at the point of purchase would unequivocally dispel any misleading inference that could be drawn from the name ‘Extra Value Meal,’” Bucklo concluded.
While value may imply savings to consumers, McDonald’s has frequently used the value meal strategy to get customers to pay a little more. After ditching its long running Dollar Menu in 2015, the company introduced the Extra Value Menu with combo meals priced above a $1. A latter version called the McPick $2 was found to be effective at getting consumers to spend more on items while making them feel like they were spending less.