American blogs, including leading consumer blog The Consumerist have published a memo (above) that allegedly shows that McDonalds Australia has a policy of short changing customers at drive thru’s, or what the Consumerist calls “New Profit Center For Australian McDonald’s: Fraud.”
At first glance the content of the letter does look like McDonald’s is commiting fraud, but even the most basic bit of testing shows that the only fraud is the letter itself.
Lets look past the fact that the memo is signed by Robert Trugabe, and the signature clearly shows that it’s a spoof on Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe. Lets look past a perfectly public page available on the McDonald’s Australia website that lists their entire executive team, including zero mention of a Robert Trugabe.
No, the easier parts to prove come with the address and alleged company name. First, the address is a suburban McDonald’s in Adelaide, as confirmed by Google Maps Street View here, no McDonald’s corporate headquarters (which for the record is in Sydney.) Then there’s the alleged name: McDonald’s Australia Pty Ltd. Anyone with a basic understanding of Australian company structures knows that a Pty Ltd company is a designation for a company restricted by a small number of share holders, and is not typically used for big multinational corporations (it’s usually just a Ltd company). All registered companies in Australia can be searched via the website of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), and the ASIC records show that there is NO company in Australia registered under the name of McDonald’s Australia Pty Ltd, only McDonald’s Australia Ltd.
My guess: someone got their hands on some letterhead from the Frewview store and decided to have some online fun, end of story. I wouldn’t want to be on the end of the lawyers that will shortly descend on the likes of the Consumerist and other sites claiming the letter is proof of fraud.