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Chicago Lawsuit Claims Subway Short-Changing Customers On Footlongs

Subway Footlong
This image from a Subway customer's federal lawsuit shows a ruler next to one of the restaurant chain's Footlong sandwiches, proving it is less than 11 inches long. (Supplied to CBS)

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A subway customer has filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago, alleging the sandwich store's popular "Footlong" subs aren't really a foot long.

As CBS 2's Pamela Jones reports, when it comes to Subway sandwiches, size matters to customers.

The lawsuit – which seeks class-action status – includes photos of a Footlong sub that measures less than 11 inches long.

Subway sells Footlong subs at all of its stores, but the lawsuit alleges that's not what its customers get every time.

It claims the company behind Subway restaurants acted "fraudulently and deceptively," by pumping out ads that promise Footlong sandwiches, which often turn out to be smaller than advertised.

"They clearly state that the length of the sub is one foot, and I don't see how it could be any clearer than that," attorney Tom Zimmerman said.

But Zimmerman said consumers are getting shorted at stores across the country, with sandwiches that are sometimes less than 11 inches.

With a ruler held up next to the sandwich she had just bought, one woman said it appeared her Footlong was only about 10 inches long.

"I think it's messed up," she said.

She visited the same store near Clark Street and Montrose Avenue that the plaintiff in the lawsuit claims sold him a too-short Footlong sub on Jan. 20.

The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages for Subway customers.

"If this is sold as 12 inches in length, then it should be 12 inches in length. It's no different than buying a dozen eggs and getting eleven," Zimmerman said.

In response to recent complaints about its Footlong subs, the company has said it uses the phrase "Footlong" as a trademarked descriptive name for its sandwiches, not an actual measurement.

They said the length of baked bread can vary after cooking.

The lawsuit alleges that the bread all comes from one place, and should be uniform. If not, Zimmerman said Subway's ads should say the actual size of its subs could vary.

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