Sometimes restaurants charge more for customized orders. This practice seems fine, especially if you’re asking for additional sides or fancy substitutions. But what if you’re asking for an ingredient to be removed? Should you be charged for getting less?

This is the subject of a recent $5 million dollar lawsuit against McDonald’s, which alleges that it’s deceptive and misleading for the fast food juggernaut to charge customers an additional fee to remove cheese from a Quarter Pounder burger. It even goes so far as to claim McDonald’s is breaking anti-trust laws by creating what’s called “illegal tying arrangement.”

The suit explicitly states, “These products cannot be purchased either separately or as part of a value meal, without the customer being overcharged and being compelled to pay for unwanted and undelivered cheese. McDonald’s is being unjustly enriched by these practices, because it receives payment for cheese it does not deliver to its customers.” Of course McDonald’s claims the lawsuit has no merit and that it’s up to individual franchises to decide menu prices in order to keep up with local competition.

However lots of folks are in agreement. Why should you pay more for less? Especially when it doesn’t require that much extra effort to remove a slice of cheese? Phil Kadner is a very vocal proponent of the lawsuit and even penned an amazing op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times.

In fact, it’s more than an op-ed—it’s a manifesto. He’s been forced to pay for hamburgers without cheese for years and he’s willing to wage war over this erroneous product definition for years. Hamburgers are cheese-less by their very nature, he argues. If he wanted cheese, he’d order a cheeseburger, dammit! And he’s willing to wage war to prove this matter of semantics. Take this choice excerpt:

“I was charged for a cheeseburger after ordering a hamburger with no cheese. ‘Yes, you have to pay for the cheese because our hamburgers come with cheese,’ I was told by a clerk who was rendered speechless when I asked if she would give me money for a diamond ring she did not request, and I planned never to give her.”

Oh, snap! That’s some sass right there.

While telling off fast food workers may not be the most effective way of proving this point, let’s hope the policy does change soon.

Header image courtesy of McDonald's.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
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