February 8th, 2013

Subway’s “five dollar foot-long” jingle has garnered an international following. However, some consumers are taking umbrage with the actual length of its famous sandwiches. A number of lawsuits have been filed claiming that Subway is deceiving customers with its sales pitch. Essentially, consumers are finding that the sandwiches are not always 12 inches long.

A complaint filed in Chicago claims that Subway has “a pattern of fraudulent, deceptive and otherwise improper advertising, sales and marketing practices.” Similarly, two men in Ocean City, New Jersey filed suit claiming that they were shortchanged when they bought foot-long sandwiches that were shorter than advertised. Both lawsuits are inviting unhappy customers to join in so that the cases can achieve class action status.

It is expected that similar lawsuits will be filed in Philadelphia.

As a matter of law, retailers are held to a standard of using truthful and accurate statements in describing their products. They may not use language or images that would mislead customers who rely on statements (or images) in deciding whether to make a purchase. We have seen instances like this in car advertisements (especially with EPA gas mileage estimates) and cell phone capabilities (with the controversy over Apple’s Suri voice command system).

The online revelation of a picture taken by an Australian man last month has likely led to the flurry of mislead. The photo of a Subway sandwich next a ruler showing that the sandwich measured 11 inches went viral, causing an uproar in the blogosphere. Subway issued a statement explaining that its bread, when baked to the company’s specifications, should be 12 inches each time.

In the meantime, the cases will be interesting to watch.

Source:, Chicago man slaps sandwich giant with suit alleging delicatessen deception, January 24, 2013

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