Brazilians are looking forward to the snacks sold by fast food chains. In the January-April period of this year, the number of consumer complaints about misleading advertising in the sector nearly tripled compared to the same period in 2021, according to consumer protection website Reclame Aqui. In the first quarter of 2022, 3,197 complaints were received, compared to 1,160 complaints in the same period last year.
In April alone, there was an increase in complaints about false ads by more than 100% compared to the same month in 2021.
The explosion of complaints about this topic has gained particular significance after the episodes of recent weeks. McDonald’s has been advised by consumer protection agencies not to use pecana meat in its Macpicana sandwiches. So did Burger King Rib Whopper.
Edu Neves, president of Reclame Aqui, explains that complaints focus largely on premium products. “Almost all complaints contain an explicit claim that the amount paid for a product is excellent, but the product received is not equivalent.”
With the advancement of handmade hamburgers, fast food chains have reacted and launched more sophisticated lines. However, Neves believed that the formula for launching higher-value products used by networks was outdated and out of step with the new era. “By saying that a product tastes such a thing, companies did not expect consumers to discover it themselves and put the problem on social media.”
Maria Inês Dolci, President of Consumerare, an international consumer protection NGO, asserts that false advertising has always existed. But it was more evident at the end of the epidemic. “The industries want to sell more and they are more aggressive,” he says.
Burger King and McDonald’s top complaints ranking, according to website
In the past six months, between November 2021 and April of this year, Burger King topped the ranking of false advertising complaints among fast food chains in Brazil, with 525 complaints, followed by rival McDonald’s, with 400 complaints, the Complaint Here website survey indicates.
Complaints of false advertising accelerated in April, after McDonald’s and Burger King episodes, says Eddo Neves, head of the site and responsible for research. “The consumer was already complaining, but he may not have been aware of it.”
After consumers complained and Procons was advised not to advertise the meat in the sandwich’s combination, Burger King was banned from selling the Whopper Rib burger throughout the Federal District. McDonald’s has removed the new macpikanha from the menu. Last week, the two companies met by the Senate Transparency, Oversight and Consumer Protection Committee to clear up the misleading hamburger ads they are accused of.
What do companies say?
sought, Burger King challenged the site survey. By noting, the company reports that “among the brands in the sector, it is the second best rated by Reclame Aqui in the past six months and has a complaint resolution rate close to 80% in this period, while the average category rate is around 64%”. Burger King added that it “continually invests in improving its products and services and finding solutions that provide increasingly positive experiences for its customers.”
McDonald’s reported, by noting, that “the brand holds customer satisfaction as a priority, and consumer communications are being improved, through various means of communication, to contribute to the improvement of our services.”
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