Should Taco Bell Charge Extra For Equal-Price Substitutions?

Consumerist reader Sean recently went to his local Taco Bell to grab a bite to eat. But when he wanted to make a slight substitution on his order, he had to pay extra. He doesn’t think he should have been charged, so we want you… to make the call.

Here’s Sean’s story as he tells it:

I ordered a Fiesta Taco Salad, but since I don’t like the texture of their beans, I ordered the item with no beans and extra rice. The menu clearly stated that the retail price of a side of rice and a side of beans were exactly the same price. As expected, I saw no credit on my receipt for holding the beans, but I was charged extra for adding rice.

While the franchisee may have a legal argument with a “no substitutions” disclaimer, I did not see one while at the store. What do you think? Based on the retail price of the components, this doesn’t seem to pass the reasonableness test.

What do you think? Obviously Taco Bell is within their legal rights to charge for the extra rice. But should they charge if you’re also taking away an ingredient of equal cost?

FYI, the story does have a happy ending for Sean:
“After a phone call to the manager, he did offer me a free drink if I came back tonight, but I don’t think I can handle Taco Bell two days in a row!”