A New York pensioner is suing Kentucky Fried Chicken to the tune of $20 million over the actual portion size of a KFC bucket.
“That’s false advertising,” said 64-year-old Anna Wurtzburger of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., referring to KFC’s ads on TV.
According to Marketwatch, Wurtzburger bought a $20 “Family Fill Up” deal from KFC this summer, expecting to get “a couple of meals” out of it. When she opened it up and looked inside, her reaction was “Where’s the chicken?”
“You get half a bucket! That’s false advertising, and it doesn’t feed the whole family. They’re small pieces!”
Wurtzburger, seeing her bucket as half-empty, was determined not to take it sitting down. According to the New York Post, she started by phoning up KFC’s corporate headquarters to complain. They told her that the chicken was shown in commercials overflowing from the bucket “so that the public could see the chicken.”
She wasn’t having that, either.
“If you want the public to look at your chicken, put it in a dish. It’s a lot of B.S. … I expect to get what you’re telling me.”
Wurtzburger’s next move, after returning two gift certificates KFC sent her, was to find a lawyer and file suit against the fried chicken giant.
Anna Wurtzburger is a retiree who previously worked for the Fishkill Correction Facility. Living entirely off of her Social Security check, the KFC meal was intended to be a special treat for her. She ordered the Family Fill Up after seeing the commercial on TV, and while it does indicate the actual contents of the meal in fine print at the bottom, it’s in print so small and so light that it’s practically invisible – and relatively recent advertising law backs up Wurtburger’s position.
In particular, it is relevant to note that it can still, legally, be false advertising when relative information is “skimmed over” in a television ad, and the FDA has frequently cited drug companies which list side effects in small print or have them read by a speed reader. While we could find no case of this having been tested with fast food ads, it would seem to set a precedent for small print; certainly, a retiree is likely to be at a disadvantage in reading it.
“You know what commercial they should put on? You remember the movie, Oliver? It was about the little boy growing up in the orphanages and he was hungry and he goes to the man, ‘Can I have some more?’”
As for the $20 million, Wurtzburger admits that it might be a little high.
Meanwhile, KFC’s only comment was to call the lawsuit “meritless.”
KFC – and parent company Yum! Brands – are no strangers to lawsuits. In 2010, they were the subject of four simultaneous lawsuits over a free chicken promotion that went horribly wrong for them. According to Lawyers And Settlements, Oprah Winfrey told her viewers that KFC was offering coupons for a free meal to promote their new grilled chicken, printing over 10 million coupons. Unfortunately for them, after an endorsement from Oprah, the response was far out of proportion to what they were able to accommodate and many customers were issued “rain checks” for their free meal. But the promotion, which was supposed to run for two weeks, shut down after only two days, leaving some 5.7 million people out $4 of free food.
In the long run, KFC settled to the tune of $1.575 million, and offered to reimburse customers – if they could produce their original coupons.
Meanwhile, if Wurtzburger’s case is allowed to go forward, KFC will probably settle again and avoid setting precedent.
What do you think, readers? Are the proportions on TV ads false advertising?
[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]