Michael Shames, deposed head of Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), says that San Diego–based fast food chain Jack in the Box is ripping off its customers.
Shames's lawsuit, filed June 18 in San Diego Superior Court, also names 12 Jack in the Box franchisees. The suit charges that the Jumbo Jack is available as part of a Combo meal, with fries and a drink, or can be ordered separately from the Value Menu. When a customer orders a Jumbo Jack alone from the Value Menu and adds cheese, he or she is overcharged between 10 cents and 25 cents a sandwich, according to the suit.
Jack in the Box could be doing this "intentionally or unintentionally," and not all franchisees engage in the practice, says Shames. The suit claims the practice is a violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law.
The practice "is so small that most customers don't realize they have been gouged," says Shames on his sandiegocan.org website. The suit asserts that consumers face "irreparable harm" from the alleged practice.
Shames's lawyer is his longtime colleague Hallen Rosner. When Shames headed UCAN, its staff would gather information on consumer ripoffs, and Rosner would sue for damages. Some UCAN staffers complained that the staff did the work and the lawyers reaped the benefits.
After a day and a half of telephone calls seeking comment from Jack in the Box, I heard nothing. If the company gets back, I will post its comment.