Pat Murphy//March 30, 2023
//March 30, 2023
Dunkin’ Donuts customers are routinely overcharged when placing orders from their cellphones using the app provided by the national coffee and baked goods chain, according to a newly filed federal class action.
“[T]he total charged to a customer, as calculated by the Mobile Application, systematically exceeded the displayed prices for individual items when specific purchases were made at the Affected Stores,” states the March 22 complaint filed in Kelledy v. Dunkin Brands Inc. in U.S. District Court. “Because of this, many thousands of Dunkin’ consumers have been unfairly and deceptively overcharged through their use of the Mobile Application for purchases made at many hundreds of Dunkin’ locations throughout the United States.”
The lead plaintiff in the case, Martin Kelledy, is a resident of Dorchester. According to the complaint, in 2022 Kelledy began noticing undisclosed charges to purchases he made using the Dunkin’ mobile app he had downloaded to his cellphone.
For example, the plaintiff alleged that on April 23, 2022, he purchased a “Large Original Blend Iced Coffee” for $3.69 and an “Everything Bagel” (with plain cream cheese) for $3.09. While the app should have charged a sub-total of $6.78, the app calculated a sub-total of $8.03. According to Kelledy, in placing his order the app failed to indicate that he would be paying extra for the cream cheese on his bagel.
“Tax was then additionally calculated on top of that incorrect Sub-Total, meaning that Mr. Kelledy not only paid an overcharge of $1.25, but also paid tax on the $1.25 overcharge,” the complaint states.
In addition to Massachusetts, the plaintiff alleges that he has made purchases at Dunkin’ Donut stores in Rhode Island, New York, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut.
“The imposition of this Undisclosed Charge has resulted in Mr. Kelledy paying an unknown extra amount of money, through the Dunkin’ Mobile Application, to an unknown number of Dunkin’ stores, on an unknown number of occasions,” the plaintiff alleges.
According to the complaint, customers can download the Dunkin’ mobile app after agreeing to the company’s terms and conditions. The app allows customers to make online purchases at participating Dunkin’ Donuts locations, providing customers with the menu of items available at the particular store as well as the prices of those items. Orders can be modified through drop-down menus offering specific flavors, sweeteners and add-ons.
Customers pay for their purchases electronically, picking up their order at the selected location.
Kelledy alleges that the Dunkin’ app “routinely” fails to disclose charges for add-ons such as cream cheese, butter, and whipped cream.
The terms and conditions for the Dunkin’ app include a mandatory arbitration clause and a Massachusetts choice-of-law clause favoring Canton-based Dunkin’ Brand Group.
The complaint explains that while the terms for the app require arbitration, the American Arbitration Association referred the parties to the “appropriate court” after declining to arbitrate the matter on the ground that the Dunkin’ arbitration provision “materially deviates from an acceptable provision.”
In observance of the choice-of-law provision, the class complaint seeks statutory damages, compensatory damages, and injunctive relief pursuant to G.L.c. 93A, the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act. The plaintiff seeks relief on behalf of a “national class of affected customers” or, in the alternative, a class of customers having made purchases in Massachusetts.
The plaintiff is represented by attorney Jeffrey G. Thorn of Boston. The case has been assigned to Judge Richard G. Stearns.g