It looks like Starbucks is in the thick of it once again. This time, the coffee chain is being sued by an angry customer in Chicago who claims that it's using too much ice in its cold drinks.
The suit, filed in federal court in Illinois last week, with Steven Hart of Hart, McLaughlin & Eldridge in Chicago as the lead attorney, claims the drinks are almost half ice, thus misrepresenting the actual amount of liquid in the beverages.
As you may know, Starbucks offers four sizes of drinks - tall, grande, venti and trenta - which correspond to 12, 16, 24 and 30 fluid ounces, respectively. These measurements are what's advertised in its stores. However, the lead plaintiff, Stacy Pincus, whose class action lawsuit seeks $5 million on behalf of all customers who purchased a cold drink from Starbucks in the past 10 years, argues that these measurements are only accurate once ice is added.
"A Starbucks customer who orders a Venti cold drink receives only 14 fluid ounces of that drink - just over half the advertised amount, and just over half the amount for which they are paying," the 29-page complaint states. "In the iced coffee example, a Starbucks customer who orders and pays for a Venti iced coffee, expecting to receive 24 fluid ounces of iced coffee based on Starbucks' advertisement and marketing, will instead receive only about 14 fluid ounces of iced coffee."
Furthermore, she argues that Starbucks charges more for cold drinks than for hot drinks of the same size, allowing the coffee chain to make larger profits off its cold beverages.
"In essence, Starbucks is advertising the size of its cold drink cups on its menu, rather than the amount of fluid a customer will receive when they purchase a cold drink - and deceiving its customers in the process," the class-action lawsuit states.
In light of this, Pincus suggests serving cold drinks in larger cups that can hold the advertised amount of fluid ounces while still allowing room for ice.
A Starbucks spokesperson has spoken out about the lawsuit and stated that it is without merit.
"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 spokesperson said.