This McDonald's Deal Isn't Saving You As Much Money As You'd Think

In 2018, a judge dismissed a class action lawsuit that had hounded McDonald's for two years. As Eater recapped, the complaint leveled in the lawsuit was that McDonald's had deceived customers with Extra Value Meals when really it would be cheaper — by 11 cents in one case and 41 cents in another — to buy the items individually.

So, it is not that the McDonald's Extra Value Meal is not saving you as much money as you may imagine, the issue is that it in fact charges you money you might be intending to save. "The reason that I am doing this is not about the 41 cents," James Gertie told Delish. "I believe in the principle of true advertising. If a company advertises something to be a value, then that is what it should be."

However, the judge laid out the issue with the lawsuit in court documents shared by Eater: "Here, a straightforward, price-to-price comparison based on information available at the point of purchase would unequivocally dispel any misleading inference that could be drawn from the name 'Extra Value Meal.'" So, apparently, as long as McDonald's does not go out of its way to obfuscate the prices themselves, they could name the cheaper meals with more expensive names and the more expensive meals with cheaper names. (Confusing, we know.) Of course, this probably would only fly if the terms cheaper and more expensive refer to less than half of a dollar.

McDonald's deal seems like no big deal now

Anyone looking to be outraged by McDonald's false advertising may be disappointed, though, as it seems they no longer offer that version of the value menu. In 2018, McDonald's launched the $1 $2 $3 Dollar Menu, which, as of this writing, remains listed on their website. This value menu pegs different items at the three listed price points.

More importantly, AdAge mentioned during their contemporaneous reporting that the Extra Value Menu to which McDonald's pivoted in 2012 had failed to live up to expectations. It seems, then, that at some point during the tumultuous rebranding that marked McDonald's in the latter half of the 2010s, they decided to remove the Extra Value Menu entirely. If so, even though the lawsuit was dismissed in court, James Gertie can feel the righteousness of having his point vindicated by the course of history. Or not.