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Massachusetts man sues Dunkin' Donuts after his buttered bagel didn't have butter

Instead, the chain had spread a butter substitute on his order.
Flickr Creative Commons

When a Massachusetts man ordered a buttered bagel from Dunkin Donuts, he was given a butter substitute instead — so he sued and won a settlement.

Jan Polanik, a man from the Worcester area,filed a pair of lawsuits in Suffolk Superior Court this month accusing more than 20 Dunkin' Donuts locations of deception, the Boston Globereported.

Polanik's attorney, Thomas Shapiro, said they debated whether or not to bring the lawsuits, which are seeking class-action status. But they didn't do it just to benefit Polanik. The suits claim to represent any customer who ordered butter but received a substitute spread instead between June 24, 2012, and June 24, 2016.

“The main point of the lawsuit is to stop the practice of representing one thing and selling a different thing," Shapiro told the Globe. "It’s a minor thing, but at the same time, 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.”


Shapiro declined to discuss the settlement terms as they will be filed with the court in a few weeks.

Dunkin' Donuts said in an emailed statement that they are aware of the lawsuit.

"The majority of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants in Massachusetts carry both individual whipped butter packets, and a butter-substitute vegetable spread," the statement continued.

This apparently isn't a new issue for the beloved Quincy-based breakfast chain. In 2013, the topic of Dunkin' Donuts' buttered bagels came up in a Globe column.

"Craig Polewaczyk of Worcester was recently disappointed after taking a bite of a bagel ordered with butter. He complained that it didn’t taste like butter and was told he was right," the Globe wrote in 2013."Even though 1) he asked for butter and 2) his receipt said “butter,” the bagel was schmeared with margarine."

In response, Dunkin' Donuts told the Globe then that butter is not held at room temperature for food safety reasons, making it more difficult to spread.

“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," a Dunkin' spokesperson said at the time. "The vegetable spread is generally used if the employee applies the topping.”

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