DRINKS

Court rules Starbucks isn’t cheating customers by adding ice to drinks

Judge ridicules the plaintiffs saying no reasonable customer could be deceived by the company's beverage labeling

 

From under filled lattes to over-iced drinks, Starbucks is facing several lawsuits from customers claiming the coffee giant isn’t serving them enough, well, coffee.

But on Friday, a U.S. District Court put a stop to one of the suits, rejecting a California customer’s claim that Starbucks purposefully puts too much ice in its cold drinks to hide the real amount of liquid in the cup.

There’s a nearly identical $5 million lawsuit still pending in Illinois, originally filed in May.

The California plaintiff, Alexander Forouzesh, alleged that Starbucks tells baristas to fill the liquid in iced drinks up to a preset fill line that’s not at the top of the cup. The remainder of the drink is just ice and that’s fraud, he claimed, because beverage sizes don’t contain the quantities of liquid  advertised-- 12 ounces for a Tall, 16 ounces for a Grande, or 24 ounces for a Venti. Forouzesh wanted to expand his complaint into a class action suit that included every Californian who purchased an iced Starbucks drink in the last ten years.

But Judge Percy Anderson of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California sided with Starbucks saying that nowhere does the company indicate its drink sizes represent actual ounces of pure liquid.

“If children have figured out that including ice in a cold beverage decreases the amount of liquid they will receive,” his ruling states, then “a reasonable consumer would not be deceived” by the ice in cold drinks.

The judge also noted that since Starbucks' cold drink cups are clear, consumers can see that they in fact contain ice.

Starbucks is still facing three other lawsuits alleging that it under fills drinks, including one that claims the company under fills hot lattes by over-aerating the milk.