Coffee drinkers who love their Starbucks to the last drop should pay close attention to a lawsuit brought against the Seattle-based coffee giant, alleging that the chain purposely underfills its lattes.
A federal judge out of California ruled that two plaintiffs may seek damages from Starbucks in their proposed nationwide class action, including for fraud and false advertising, according to a Reuters report.
Plaintiffs Siera Strumlauf of San Francisco and Benjamin Robles of Carlsbad, Calif., accuse Starbucks of overcharging customers for lattes that are 25 percent too small. They claim that baristas at more than 11,000 locations across the U.S. are making lattes based on a recipe adopted in 2009 to save money on milk. Baristas are required to use pitchers for heating milk with etched “fill to” lines that are too low, and to leave 1/4 inch of free space in drink cups, Reuters reported.
The lawsuit claims customers are shorted because Starbucks’ cups for tall, grande and venti lattes hold exactly 12, 16 and 20 ounces.
“This is not a case where the alleged deception is simply implausible as a matter of law,” U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson wrote in his decision. “The court finds it probable that a significant portion of the latte-consuming public could believe that a ‘Grande’ contains 16 ounces of fluid.”
Starbucks spokesman Reggie Borges told Reuters Monday that the company believes the lawsuit is without merit and is prepared to defend itself. He also said that if a customer is not satisfied with how a beverage is prepared, “we will gladly remake it.”