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Home » Criminal Law » Starbucks Accused of Over-icing Coffee, Faces Lawsuit

Starbucks Accused of Over-icing Coffee, Faces Lawsuit

a goblin working at starbucks hands a customer a cup full of iceHave you been to Starbucks before and purchased one of their chilled beverages? Did those greedy goblins put so much ice in the cup that you only managed a few sips? Rest assured: you’re not alone. And the movement you’ve been waiting for has just begun.

Stacy Pincus, a woman from Illinois, has just filed a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks which claims that the company deliberately misleads customers into paying more money for less coffee by overloading cups with ice. She wants $5 million, and if you’ve ever been ice-scammed by Starbucks, she wants you to share that treasure.

Counting the Ounces

Those of us familiar with Starbucks have probably already moved past the eye-rolling phase, during which their unique system of coffee measurement must be memorized. Small is short (8 fl. oz.). Medium is tall (12 fl. oz.). Grande is large (16 fl. oz.). Venti is extra-large (24 fl. oz.). And Trenta is a death sentence (30 fl. oz.).

It’s reasonable to assume that people generally choose what size of drink they want based on how much of that drink they’d like to have inside of them. Of course, ice is no new thing — it’s also true that many expect cold-served drinks to have ice. That’s how they stay cold. Sure, some people don’t like it because it melts and waters down their drink, but ice is still conventional. When you want a cold drink, you account for ice. That is the world we live in.

But how much ice is the right amount of ice? Because after a certain point, the ice-drink ratio gets thrown off. A cup full of ice is exactly that — full of ice — which means one thing that it isn’t full of is a drink. This is Stacy Pincus’s problem with Starbucks. She suspects that the chain is so greedy that its workers are trained to go heavy on the ice, thereby saving money on coffee inventory. For example, she says that a Venti-sized coffee, which is supposed to contain 24 ounces, really only holds about 14 ounces once the Starbucks’s standard level of ice is added. Which is less than a Grande, for god’s sake!

Accusations of Ice Fraud

Pincus thinks Starbucks is breaking the law by over-icing their customers. The cups might hold their advertised volume, but not when most of the space is taken up by ice cubes. Her lawsuit considers this a three-fold crime: fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.

If Pincus’s case holds up in the courtroom, it’s fairly easy to guess how each of those offenses apply. Fraud was committed when Starbucks chose give customers less coffee than was advertised. This fraud was possible due to a negligent misrepresentation of sizes versus actual quantity. And by profiting from these crimes, which Starbucks certainly does if it’s saving inventory based on Pincus’s calculations, the company celebrates unjust enrichment.

Of course, Starbucks sees it differently. One of their spokesmen dismissed the accusations when interviewed by TMZ:

“Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any ‘iced’ beverage.”

Furthermore, the spokesman said that any customer who isn’t satisfied with their ratio of ice to coffee always has the option of requesting that it be remade. Starbucks’s position is perhaps best explained by a single word used to describe the lawsuit: “absurd.”

David and Goliath

While there’s a chance that Pincus and whoever joins her class-action surge for justice will claim victory, it seems unlikely. How often are giant, influential companies defeated by individuals? It’s a David and Goliath situation, for sure. For one thing, it’d be hard for Pincus’s lawyers to come up with assuredly damning evidence. For another, it’s unfortunately pretty unlikely that these lawyers are any match for Starbucks’s doubtlessly competent legal team. The stakes aren’t terribly high, either. There’s no telling how a judge would assess this situation, but it’s safe to say that the injustices that Starbucks is accused of committing aren’t going to enrage the general public if the ruling ends up in the company’s favor.

At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our team of attorneys has years of experience working with clients in a wide range of cases that could be considered ‘David and Goliath.’ If you’re pondering legal action against a seemingly unbeatable entity, there’s hope! When prompt and decisive action is taken towards securing trustworthy legal representation, the rest of the process is far more likely to favor the prepared. Call today, or go online to set up your free initial consultation, and meet with a skilled lawyer who’s ready and waiting to guide you toward the justice you deserve.

(615) 259-2660

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