Americans and their coffee law suits…

Chicago resident, Stacy Pincus, filed suit against coffee giant Starbucks. Her beef? She claims Starbucks, “has engaged in the practice of misrepresenting the amount of Cold Drink a customer will receive,” by adding too much ice to their iced beverages. Pincus and counsel are requesting class-action status.

Pincus says she would not have purchased Starbucks iced-drinks had she known she was getting less than the entire cup’s worth of coffee or tea beverage. The complaint claims, “in purchasing Cold Drinks from Starbucks retail stores, Plaintiff relied on Starbucks’ misrepresentations of material fact regarding the true amount of fluid ounces contained in the Cold Drinks. Plaintiff would not have paid as much, if anything for the Cold Drinks had she known that it contained less, and in many cases, nearly half as many, fluid ounces than claimed by Starbucks. As a result, Plaintiff suffered injury in fact and lost money or property.”

Do they not teach displacement in science classes anymore? In any case, Jacob Gershman summarized the allegations for the Wall Street Journal:

The lawsuit offers the example of a Starbucks venti-sized iced coffee, which it says typically costs $2.95 and comes in a plastic cup holding 24 fl. oz. Under Starbucks’ “standard practice,” coffee is filled to just above the head of the logo’s siren figure and the rest is cubes of ice. “Accordingly, a Starbucks customer who orders a Venti Cold Drink receives only 14 fluid ounces of that drink – just over half the advertised amount,” the complaint states.


Starbucks says customers can request less ice.

“Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any ‘iced’ beverage. If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it,” a company spokeswoman told CNN.

I worked for Starbucks through my college years. Their recipes accounted for the fact that the coffees and teas they serve are stronger than the average brew, and that a bit of melted ice brings the drink to its right flavor. Or at least that was the case over a decade ago. Do lazy baristas add too much ice and mismake drinks? Sure. Which is why I’ve never hesitated to request a drink be remade properly. If I’m shelling out $4 for one boozeless drink, it sure as hell better be made right. But a lawsuit?


In March, Starbucks was slapped with another class-action suit which alleged the coffee retailer intentionally underfills hot beverage cups, thereby ripping off unassuming customers. One of the dumber parts of that complaint (aside from the premise of the complaint itself)? It’s deplorable for a coffee purveyor to leave 1/4 inch between a 160 – 180 degree beverage and the top of the cup. This is not a ripoff, it’s what we used to call “common sense.” But if common sense were still a thing, the free market, not the legal system, would be used to express displeasure with a product. Alas…

Underfilled cup complaint:

Siera Strumlauf, et al. v. Starbucks Corp. by Legal Insurrection

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.