Q: Can I file for civil damages against a fastfood restaurant in north Carolina for fraud and deceptive price advertising?
I order a dinner advertised for one price but am charged a higher price each time. I have brought this to the attention of several restaurant managers but they ignore my concerns and willfully continue to charge a higher price than what is advertised.
Based on these limited facts, I have a guess as to what is going on.
The advertisement you saw was probably a national ad for the fast food chain, or even a regional ad. At the bottom of the print ad, or at the end of the commercial, words along the lines of "at participating locations only" would appear or be spoken.
There are many articles discussing this issue, such as here - business.time.com/2012/06/06/why-restaurants-use-the-at-participating-locations-only-disclaimer/
The location you are visiting is likely not participating.
This disjunct comes from how the fast food industry operates - with the vast majority of locations operated by an independent franchisee. In general the agreements between the fast food company and their independent franchisees spell out which promotions they have to participate in (e.g. Dollar Value Menu, or an instant win piece on to-go cups) but leave it to the discretion of the independent franchisee as to whether they participate in other promotions.
The independent franchisee may choose to participate (and take advantage of the ad campaign promoting the sale) or may choose not to participate (and risk alienating customer, but also earning more revenue on the "sale" items).
If this is not the case, and you saw an ad in the store for example, and the store refused to honor the pricing, I would document the issue (pictures are helpful) and send a respectful note to the corporate offices. They will often step in and get to the root of the problem and may even choose to compensate you for your inconvenience.
Best of luck.
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