Products and services are meant to function as they’re sold and advertised, and when they don’t, consumers may have legal recourse to collect damages. A recent example through which customers asserted their legal rights against a company over a defective product was a class action lawsuit filed against McDonald’s concerning issues with the mobile app offered by the company. We’ll explore this further below, and cover when customers might be entitled to compensation when the products and services they use are defective.
If you have purchased or used a defective product and experienced financial loss or physical injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages. To learn what legal options you have on your case, reach out to a Florida product liability attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. Read on to learn more about the McDonald’s app glitch and defective products.
The class action lawsuit filed against McDonald’s alleges that customers of McDonald’s who place orders on the restaurant’s mobile application or app can be charged twice as much due to an alleged glitch or error in the design of the app.
“Poorly and negligently designed…”
The lawsuit alleges that the app offered to customers by McDonald’s was poorly and negligently designed, and as a result of this, customers incurred double the prices on some purchases.
To collect damages for a lawsuit, it must be proven that another party was negligent. Negligence has four parts: duty, breach, causation, and damages. The unique facts of your case are applied to this complex legal concept, and can entitle you to compensation.
Attorneys trained in representing consumers who have purchased defective or used products and experienced damages can provide the legal advocacy you need to prove your claim and collect as much in compensation as possible.
A class action lawsuit is filed on behalf of a group of people, although generally there will be a party named who acts as the class representative in the case. Here, George Keritsis filed the class action lawsuit against McDonald’s on behalf of all the consumers who experienced the double-charging glitch.
The class action lawsuit was filed in Illinois circuit court. The plaintiffs, the consumers who experienced the glitch, hope to prove that McDonald’s had a duty to design an app without a double-charging glitch, and that the breach led to the financial injuries for which the consumers are seeking compensation.
An App Can Be a Defective Product, Too
When a company decides to create an app, they are bound by the rules put in place by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC. The FTC is America’s largest consumer protection agency, and has a complex set of guidelines in place to regulate business activity. The full scope of the FTC and whether it applies to a business depends on the circumstances and industry of the business, and if violations have occurred, the outcomes in the cases of other businesses with similar facts and circumstances.
The FTC requires that companies adhere to basic privacy principles, as well as truth-in-advertising standards. These principles and standards are in place to protect consumers like you from being taken advantage of by the companies selling them products and services.
Truth in Advertising
No matter what industries businesses are involved in, they’re required to accurately advertise their products. Should a product have potential dangers during use, companies are also required to warn the consumer about these potential dangers when using the product as intended. This doesn’t mean that every product must run down an exhaustive list of what could be dangerous if the product is creatively used in a risky way, but rather the risks that the normal user of the product might encounter.
When companies are not truthful in advertising their products, or they fail to effectively warn the consumer about certain risks when using the product, the company can be liable. To protect against risk, it’s essential that companies are truthful in the advertising of their products. This also applies to apps, and companies that are marketing apps to consumers are required to adhere to the FTC’s truthful advertising requirements.
Consumers can be entitled to compensation when:
- Companies issue false or misleading claims about what their products or services are capable of; or
- When companies omit important information about their products or services.
A company is required to be accurate and truthful as to claims made about the products, and to communicate essential information like warnings. Essential information about the product or service must be displayed in a manner that is “clear and conspicuous.” What this means is that the information is large and clear enough that the normal consumer would notice it and understand its message.
The FTC is also concerned with supporting the privacy of consumers, and has established the “privacy by design” requirement. This includes limiting the amount of information collected, establishing a secure means of information storage, and ensuring the safe disposal of information that is no longer needed. Data transparency is an element of privacy, and consumers often have a right to be aware of how their information is being collected and shared by apps.
It’s important to recognize, however, that the law does provide exceptions for advertisements that are clearly exaggerations, applying the legal term “puffery.” A current example of this would be Red Bull energy drink’s slogan “Red Bull gives you wings!” If a consumer were to sue over false advertising there because drinking an energy drink did not make them literally grow wings, the court would likely rule against them as the ad is clearly puffery. Were Red Bull energy drink to put consumers to sleep, however, they would have a solid claim for false advertising.
Think you might have purchased or used a defective product? We can help.
Buying or employing a defective product can lead to injury, which can entitle you to damages. Reach out to one of the experienced attorneys from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath by calling (561) 655-1990 or visit our website to schedule a consultation.