There was once a time when Taco Bell ran ads across advertising the taco chain's Chalupa Cravings Box. That's one heck of a deal, right? One of Taco Bell's go-to meals for a crispy five bucks. You might imagine the fury of one New Jersey couple after they arrived at Taco Bell and each ordered the box, only to be charged $6.06 each — $2.18 over the advertised price it should have cost the couple.
Since then, the couple — Nelson and Joann Estrella — have since filed suit in Middlesex County Superior Court alleging the company has fraudulent advertising practices. According to NJ.com, the suit has since been bumped into the federal court system.
While just a $2.18 price increase from the advertised price, the lawsuit alleges the Estrellas "“sustained an ascertainable loss, in the form of time wasted driving to the subject Taco Bell, the gasoline expended to drive their vehicle to the subject Taco Bell, and in the amount of $2.18, which is the difference between what they should have been charged ($10.00 before taxes) and what they were charged ($12.18 before taxes)."
“You can’t tell someone you are going to charge them $5 in big bold print and then take it away with a fine print disclaimer," said Estrella attorney Douglas Schwartz. "You can’t do that. It’s against the law. It is just wrong what they are doing to customers. While it is $2 to my clients, it is hundreds of millions to Taco Bell."
The lawsuit alleges the ads run by the company violate the New Jersey Administrative Code, something which says advertising "shall be set forth in a type size and style that is clear and conspicuous relative to the other type sizes and styles used in the advertisement."
In the ad itself, the price is largely displayed as $5 per box, which includes one Chalupa Supreme, one 5-Layer Burrito, one Crunchy Taco, one order of Cinnamon Twists, and a drink. At the bottom, the lawsuit says, the ad had minuscule writing which informs consumers "pricing may vary."
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