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Starbucks Sued for Putting “Too Much Ice” in Drinks

Earlier, I wrote about a situation where two flight attendants couldn’t get along on an airplane, resulting in them being removed from the flight.

I mentioned that I’ve had to separate servers over a disagreement about how much ice should go in the drink.  I mentioned it because I thought it was silly.

But apparently, ice and drinks are serious business.  Walter Olson of Overlawyered reports that Starbucks was sued for putting too much ice in their coffee.

A scandalous amount of ice.
A scandalous amount of ice.

Personally, I’m always like, hey!  Free ice!

From LAist’s reporting on this:

Los Angeles resident and Starbucks customer Alexander Forouzesh had filed a claim alleging that Starbucks was systematically defrauding customers by advertising cold drinks like iced coffee and tea as being a certain size, “underfilling” cups with liquid, and then using extra ice to pad the order and make the cup appear full.

“I’ve been drinking iced coffee for a really long time. You can get refills on regular coffee, they give it to you no problem, but with the iced coffee, they wont give you refills. I was very upset and I thought about it and I felt like I was being scammed,” Forouzesh told LAist over the phone on Wednesday afternoon. Forouzesh is a native Angeleno and works in real estate.

Please read the rest of LAist’s article for more of Forouzesh’s complaint.  He measures the amount of ice in intricate detail and accuses Starbucks of using the lines on the cups (that are there to help baristas measure how much liquid they put in the cup) to measure how much liquid they put in the cup.  Yes, I didn’t accidentally typo or repeat myself there.  That’s literally something in the complaint.

The judge sided with Starbucks and threw the case out.  But not before making an epic statement:

If children have figured out that including ice in a cold beverage decreases the amount of liquid they will receive, the Court has no difficulty concluding that a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into thinking that when they order an iced tea, that the drink they receive will include both ice and tea and that for a given size cup, some portion of the drink will be ice rather than whatever liquid beverage the consumer ordered.

This conclusion is supported by the fact that the cups Starbucks uses for its Cold Drinks, as shown in the Complaint, are clear, and therefore make it easy to see that the drink consists of a combination of liquid and ice.

…When a reasonable consumer walks into a Starbucks and orders a Grande iced tea, that consumer knows the size of the cup that drink will be served in and that a portion of the drink will consist of ice. Because no reasonable consumer could be confused by this, Plaintiff fails to state viable CLRA, UCL, or FAL claims.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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4 comments

  1. Michael

    it’s why people hate lawyers. They tie up the court system for the stupidest things. Good call on throwing case out.

  2. That all being said, what does annoy me is when the barista fills the shaker with so much ice resulting in a not insignificant portion of the carefully measured liquid remaining in the shaker after the cup is filled. I usually watch and if I see that I tell them not the toss it but hold it while I take sip and have them top off the drink.

  3. lawyers next plan, sue for not enough ice in the drinks

  4. Simple solution – Specifically ask the barista for ‘VERY LITTLE ICE.’ Done. Problem solved. DUH. I do that and it works. I hate too much ice in my drinks. Any drink. But this case is totally ridiculous.

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