Date
23 January 2018
Starbucks has succeeded in securing the dismissal of a lawsuit that accused the coffee chain of cheating its customers by underfilling its cups. Photo: Bloomberg
Starbucks has succeeded in securing the dismissal of a lawsuit that accused the coffee chain of cheating its customers by underfilling its cups. Photo: Bloomberg

US judge throws out ‘underfilling’ lawsuit against Starbucks

Starbucks Corp has won the dismissal of a US lawsuit that accuses the coffee chain of overcharging customers by underfilling lattes and mochas, Reuters reports. 

In a ruling Friday, a judge in Oakland, California said she found lack of evidence that Starbucks cheats customers by making its cups too small, using “fill-to” lines on baristas’ pitchers that are too low, and instructing baristas to skimp on ingredients, the report said.

US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers also rejected a claim that milk foam added to lattes and mochas should not count toward advertised volumes.

Reasonable customers expect foam to take up some volume, the judge said, and the plaintiffs conceded that foam is an essential ingredient in their drinks.

“Accordingly, plaintiffs fail to show that lattes contain less than the promised beverage volume represented on Starbucks’ menu boards,” Rogers wrote.

Siera Strumlauf and Benjamin Robles, both of California, and Brittany Crittenden of New York had accused Starbucks in their proposed nationwide class action of fraud and false advertising by underfilling latte cups by about 25 percent.

Starbucks countered that its cups hold more than the advertised number of ounces, and that the “fill-to” lines provide guidance to baristas as to how much cold milk, which expands when steamed, to pour into pitchers, the report said.

In 2016, two federal judges dismissed separate lawsuits accusing Starbucks of cheating customers who bought iced beverages, finding that reasonable customers would understand that ice counts toward their drinks’ contents.

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