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Dunkin' Faces $5 Million Lawsuit Over Extra Charges for Milk Alternatives

Dunkin' reportedly raked in revenue exceeding $1.4 billion still charges extra for non-dairy!
Image Source: Dunkin Instagram
Image Source: Dunkin Instagram

Dunkin' is currently facing a class action lawsuit by a group of people seeking a hefty sum of at least $5 million in damages. They allege that Dunkin' discriminates against customers who have lactose intolerance or milk allergies. The claim is that Dunkin' charges these customers more when they opt for non-dairy alternatives like soy, oat, coconut, or almond 'milk.'

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California, asserts that customers with lactose intolerance or milk allergies are being treated unfairly. When they order drinks with non-dairy options, Dunkin' apparently imposes an extra charge, sometimes as high as $2.15. This practice has led to a legal battle, with the plaintiffs arguing that it amounts to discrimination against people with certain health conditions.

The legal document points out an interesting contrast. While Dunkin' is willing to modify its regular beverage offerings for customers with specific health conditions, such as offering caffeine-free options for those with hypertension, the same courtesy is not extended to those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies. The lawsuit alleges that Dunkin' is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and other state anti-discrimination laws by selectively imposing surcharges only for these conditions.

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Dunkin' suggests that customers with food allergies should inform the server about their condition. The lawsuit, however, argues that Dunkin' only accommodates those with lactose intolerance or milk allergies by adding an extra charge. Despite the company's advice to inform about allergies, it appears that this information is not translating into fair treatment for all customers with dietary restrictions.

The lawsuit represents 10 individuals from various states who have been regular Dunkin' customers since at least 2018. These customers claim that they face adverse health effects if they consume milk or milk-containing products, including stomach pain, digestive tract inflammation, bloating, bowel irregularities, and vomiting. The legal action emphasizes the serious health consequences these individuals could suffer due to Dunkin's alleged discriminatory pricing.

Image Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio |Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio |Pexels

The lawsuit also sheds light on Dunkin's financial standing. In 2021, Dunkin' reportedly raked in revenue exceeding $1.4 billion. The argument here is that Dunkin' is a major player in the market, giving it significant influence over manufacturing costs, especially for non-dairy alternatives. The plaintiffs claim that Dunkin' has the capability to control these costs but chooses not to when it comes to customers with lactose intolerance or milk allergies.

In seeking relief, the plaintiffs demand Dunkin' to treat customers with lactose intolerance or milk allergies the same way they treat regular customers when it comes to pricing for menu items. Additionally, they seek the elimination of surcharges for non-dairy alternatives like soy, almond, coconut, oat, or other lactose-free 'milk.' This legal action highlights a push for fair and equal treatment for individuals with specific dietary needs.

Despite the serious allegations and legal action, Dunkin' has not immediately responded to the requests for comment from FOX Business. The lack of response leaves many questions unanswered, and the outcome of this legal battle will likely have implications not only for Dunkin' but also for how other companies handle pricing and accommodations for customers with dietary restrictions.