By Pamela Jones

CHICAGO (WBBM/CNN) - A Subway customer has filed a federal lawsuit in Chicago, saying the sandwich store's popular "footlong" subs aren't really a foot long.

When it comes to subway sandwiches, size matters to customers.

[Reporter]: "When you order a footlong what do you expect?

[Customer]: "A footlong."

But that's not what customers are getting according to a nationwide class action lawsuit filed in Chicago. It claims the company behind subway restaurants acted "fraudulently and deceptively," by pumping out allegedly misleading ads that promise footlong sandwiches, hands down.

"I don't see how it could be any clearer than that," said attorney Tom Zimmerman.

But Zimmerman said consumers are getting shorted at stores across the country missing a half-inch, an inch, maybe more.

[Reporter]: "Does it look like you got 12 inches?"

[Customer]: "No, it doesn't maybe about 10, if anything or nine inches."

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 January 20. The lawsuit seeks more than $5 million in damages.

[Reporter]: "What are you saying to the company?"

"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," said Zimmerman.

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.

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