Dunkin' Donuts Settles Lawsuit After Serving Someone a Butter Substitute Instead of Butter

© Tim Boyle / Getty Images

By Rebekah Lowin Posted April 03, 2017

Who even knew you could sue for such a thing?

Jan Polanik was pretty peeved when he asked for butter and got margarine instead—so he took his disappointment to court.

The Worcester, Massachusetts resident specifically asked for real butter on his Dunkin’ Donuts bagel, and when he learned the employees were serving him a “margarine or butter substitute” instead, he sued.

“The main point of the lawsuit is to stop the practice of representing one thing and selling a different thing,” his lawyer, Thomas Shapiro, told the Boston Globe. “If somebody goes in and makes a point to order butter for the bagel...they don’t want margarine or some other kind of chemical substitute.”

Polanik filed two lawsuits in Suffolk Superior Court in Massachusetts in March, accusing more than 20 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises across Massachusetts of similar butter fraud.

Now, an undisclosed settlement has been reached, and Polanik is victorious.

The best part? The 17 stores in the franchises have been required to change the way they offer butter to customers (though the details here are ambiguous).

This actually isn’t the first time claims of butter deception have been brought against Dunkin’ Donuts. It's not even the first time they've been brought against Dunkin' Donuts in Massachusetts In 2013, a man named Craig Polewaczyk of Worcester, Massachusetts ordered a bagel with butter and got margarine instead. The Globe wrote it up, and, at the time, a Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman, Lindsay Harrington, stated that “for food safety reasons, we do not allow butter to be stored at room temperature, which is the temperature necessary for butter to be easily spread onto a bagel or pastry. As a result, the recommended in-store procedure … is that individual whipped butter packets be served on the side of a guest’s bagel or pastry but not applied. The vegetable spread is generally used if the employee applies the topping.”

No, getting margarine when you’ve asked for butter isn’t the worst thing in the world, admits Polanik’s lawyer, Shapiro. But, still. “A lot of people prefer butter,” he said.

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