This past week, Kentucky Fried Chicken ran a promotion. The promotion was offered on the Oprah Winfrey show. KFC offered a free meal to their patrons to try KFC’s new grilled chicken. However, after going to the trouble of acquiring the coupon, printing it and driving to your local KFC, you do not get what KFC promises. You get the old bait and switch.
Orders to defraud customers apparently came from the top. Management at Yum brands told franchises to stop honoring the coupons even if they had product available. That’s right, the top brass at Yum Brands apparently sent a letter out to KFC franchises telling them not to honor KFC’s own promotion, and despite the franchises having plenty of product, customers are being turned away.
Opportunistic franchises are taking full advantage of KFC’s trickery, which is what we believe management intended all along. When you enter the door, the prices seem much higher than they were the week before, and they tell you that you cannot use your coupon, but they will give you a chance to get a rain check. To get the rain check you have to fill out what is essentially a rebate form and mail it. Guess what you get in return. Another coupon. The hope? That the new coupon will be worth more than the existing one was. This is a standard bait and switch tactic. You will walk out the door hungry or buy something else at an inflated price.
One could possibly understand a mistake on KFC’s part if the demand were too great for KFC, but KFC limited the offer. The download was available for a very short period: from 9am May 5 to 11:59pm (CDT) May 6. The coupons printed all have UPC codes, and when all the promotion coupons were gone, they were no longer available. They explicitly limited each household to 4 coupons. Management knew exactly how much the promotion would cost and how many coupons would be printed and took advantage of Oprah to bait and switch her audience.
A class action suit is likely, and Yum Brands, the parent company of KFC, will pay way more than if they just honored their offer. Management should be ashamed for lying to their customers in order to employ this obvious bait and switch tactic.
To confirm the facts, we decided to go to a KFC in Massachusetts to determine if the sham was fact. When we attempted to order, we indeed were informed that they would not honor the coupon because they were told by upper management at Yum Brands to not honor it. We were informed that the store had plenty of the chicken, so long as you paid for it.
KFC is not new to scamming the public. This suit was brought against KFC for falsely advertising their product before. Yum Brands has proven fraud is a way of life at their door.
Take Action. This isn’t just about a $5 Free meal.
KFC should be brought to task on the issue, and individual franchises should be brought to task for lying to their customers. To file your complaint, write to KFC yourself. Don’t try calling their 800 number, they just forward you to a recording admitting they were lying when they made the original offer. The recording says that because of overwhelming demand, KFC would no longer honor their promise. Honestly, anyone that believes they did not know in advance the demand would be overwhelming can also buy a bridge from Colonel Sanders after he rises from the grave.
We will make it easy for you to file your complaint. We will write the letter for you to use. You don’t have to use it verbatim, but if you do, it will get your point across. And who knows, maybe you will receive an apology and a coupon for a free meal to make up for your trouble.
Mail your complaint to
KFC’s Corporate Address for Customer Comments
P.O. Box 725489
Atlanta, GA 31139
Or better yet, send the letter to the CEO of Yum Brands!
Chief Executive Officer
Yum! Brands Inc.
1441 Gardiner Lane
Louisville, KY 40213
He is the CEO that endorsed the fraud.
And point all your friends here to copy our letter and get it out to let management know you won’t stand for this kind of advertising.
Chief Executive Officer
Yum! Brands Inc
1441 Gardiner Lane
Louiville, KY 40213
Dear Mr. Novak:
Recently, you ran a promotion for grilled chicken meals at your KFC restaurants on Oprah. Despite the fact that you limited the number of coupons printed and were well aware of the demand for your product, you chose to stop honoring your own coupons, greatly inconveniencing your customers.
This was clearly a case of fraud and an intended bait and switch tactic, and I, as a KFC customer, am disgusted with your practices. If you choose to run a promotion, it is your responsibility to anticipate and meet the demand. If supply were a problem, perhaps a rain check is in order, but to actually have the product at your franchises, but to deny the product to customers that have the coupon is complete fraud.
To offer a “rebate” in return to just get another coupon is even more insulting to your customers, who, as you know, will likely enter your store hungry and still purchase something. The bait and switch strategy you are using is revolting to us as a customer of KFC and as consumers. To abuse your customers in this fashion during difficult economic times is disgraceful.
We are writing you and copying the FCC and our local State fraud agencies about your tactics and hope that a class action suit is brought against Yum Brands for your fraudulent sales tactics.
Your Name Here
To include the FCC, mail a copy to
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554
You will have to research a bit to find out where to mail a consumer complaint in your state. Often it is the Attorney General’s office.