America’s beloved chain restaurants have had a rough go of it lately. On Monday, eco-conscious burrito bowl slinger Chipotle closed every single one of its restaurants to discuss overhauling brand strategy after poisoning an estimated 500 customers with E. Coli. On the same day, news broke that Dunkin’ Donuts, another brand that styles itself as buddy-buddy with its customers, has been ripping off New Yorkers, overcharging us to the tune of about $10 million over the past three years.
As reported by the New York Post, the problem boils down to cashiers’ lack of knowledge about sales tax. While items such as bottled water and packaged coffee beans aren’t subject to sales tax, customers were reportedly charged 7 percent on those purchases over the past several years. And while a caffeine addict isn’t likely to notice a little extra tax charged on a bag of java or bottle of water, those errors certainly add up over time—a one-pound bag costs $9, which means an unnecessary 63 cents was charged for each. Now multiply that by how many bags of coffee you've purchased, and you know how much extra dough (pun intended) you've had to fork over. According to the article in the Post, New York customers were swindled about about 70 percent of the time, while our New Jersey cousins ponied up about $4 million.
Whether or not these mistakes were innocent, they’re undoubtedly unlawful; lawsuits have been filed in both New York and New Jersey to get to the bottom of this bitter brew. And if you’re one of those machines that “runs on” Dunkin’, it might be time to seek out a new fuel source.