Starbucks Lawsuit: ‘You Put Too Much Ice in My Coffee, Gimme $5 Million’!



The Starbucks Coffee at Universal CityWalk Hollywood / BrokenSphere, Wikimedia Commons

By Matthew A. McIntosh / 05.02.2016
Brewminate Editor-in-Chief

A lawsuit has been filed against Starbucks on behalf of one Stacy Pincus in Chicago.  The complaint is that too much ice is put into iced drinks and thereby reduces the actual volume of the liquid – false advertising.

The lawsuit specifically states that an iced beverage advertised at 24 ounces really only holds approximately 14 ounces of liquid, and it clarifies that ice is not a liquid.  “A Starbucks customer who orders and pays for a cold drink receives much less than advertised,” it reads, “often nearly half as many fluid ounces.”

What does Pincus’ counsel believe is appropriate compensation for this incredible travesty?  $5 MILLION!

Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley said, “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.”

The reason given for the seemingly inflated amount is that it is actually seeking status as a class-action suit to reward customers for the past ten years.  This will be a case, if won, of certain lawyers getting a lot of money with very small dividends given to all who participate in the suit.

You’ve seen this before:  A letter comes in the mail with a deadline to submit your name as part of the suit, the case is tried, and if the suit is won, you receive a check for a whopping five bucks or so in the mail.

I buy coffee at Starbucks on a regular basis in addition to the many independent coffeehouses I visit.  I realize that iced coffee will include, well, ice, and that the liquid added to what will shortly also become liquid means there are not literally the number of ounces advertised.

I also know that Starbucks actually will gladly remake your coffee with as much or as little ice as you wish.  You could say, “Hey, put that tall iced coffee in a venti cup and fill it with the advertised number of ounces and rest with ice.”  They would do it – really, they would.

Memories of a lawsuit against another company for hot coffee burning someone who spilled it on herself comes to mind here.

Tort reform – we need it, badly.