tarbucks has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the top coffee shop engages in false and deceptive advertising practices to “cheat consumers” into believing the amounts of espresso and caffeine vary in some of its Grande and Venti-sized beverages.
Starbucks Corporation is an American coffee company and coffeehouse chain. Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Wash. in 1971. The company now operates approximately 30,000 locations worldwide.
According to the 19-page complaint filed in the Central District of California, Starbucks uses a “classic bait-and-switch scheme” that leads consumers to believe they’ll be getting more espresso and caffeine if they purchase the larger size beverage at a higher cost. “However, in reality, consumers receive a more expensive, Venti-sized drink containing the same amount of espresso and caffeine as the cheaper Grande-sized equivalent drink,” the suit says.
Starbucks offers a variety of hot and cold beverages in four drink sizes: Short (8 fl. oz.), Tall (12 fl. oz.), Grande (16. fl. oz.), and Venti (20 fl. oz.) The lawsuit argues consumers have come to expect that if the drinks increase in size then so would the amount of coffee or espresso. At Starbucks a customer ordering a Grande beverage will receive more espresso and caffeine than they would in a Tall beverage, the suit says. But that same proportional increase does not occur between some of the Grande and Venti sized hot beverages, the suit claims.
Customers purchasing the larger drink size are spending more money for 4 more ounces of milk served with no additional espresso and caffeine. The lawsuit list 18 beverages have the same caffeine or espresso content regardless of whether the customer orders a Grande and Venti size.
“This defies a reasonable consumer’s expectation that if they pay for a larger espresso beverage, they will receive a beverage with more espresso,” the suit says. According to the lawsuit, the amounts of espresso and caffeine do not change whether a customer orders a Grande-size or Venti-size product in the following beverages:
Cappucino, Caramel Cloud Macchiato, Caffe Latte, Pumpkin Spice Latte, Cinnamon Dolce Latte, Cocoa Cloud Macchiato, Flat White, Latte Macchiato, Starbucks Blonde Caffe Latte, Starbucks Blonde Caramel Cloud Macchiato, Starbucks Blonde Flat White, Starbucks Blonde Pumpkin Spice Latte, Starbucks Blonde Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Latte, Starbucks Blonde Vannilla Latte, Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Latte, White Chocolate Mocha, and Pumpkin Spice Latte
Leaving Customers in the dark Teresa Adams of Orange County, California purchased a Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte from a Starbucks on November 20, 2019. She paid $5.45 for the Venti size beverage expecting the larger drink size to contain more caffeine. The woman claims neither the menu inside nor the drive-thru provided customers with an “accurate espresso or caffeine content” for the beverage products. The suit claims Adams shelled out more money for a “watered-down version” of a Pumpkin Spice Latte and had she been made aware of the truth she would have went with the Grande sized drink.
“At no time does Starbucks inform, or make any effort to inform, consumers as to the true espresso composition or caffeine content of its Venti-sized espresso beverages,” the suit added.
The suit knowledges that Starbucks gives customers the option of adding an additional “shot” of espresso to their drink, but it comes at an additional cost, thus “further reinforcing the reasonable belief that Venti sized products contain more espresso/caffeine than their Grande-sized equivalents,” states the proposed class action suit.
When it comes to the coffee giant’s iced version of most beverages, the espresso or caffeine content does increase between the Grande and Venti sized beverages, states the suit. Perhaps only further leading customers to expect an increase in espresso and caffeine content in Venti-sized hot beverage products.
Advertisements Starbucks, the suit says, continues to engage in “affirmative misrepresentations and material omissions, designed to mislead its consumers into believing that the products contain more espresso and thus caffeine than their Grande-sized equivalents.” As the lawsuit tells it, customers relied on Starbucks alleged “false and deceptive” advertising and paid more for a “product that was not what Starbucks represented.”
The proposed class action lawsuit now asks the court to look into whether Starbuck’s in store signage of sizes and prices is misleading and deceptive.
Only on the company’s website, the suit says, can customers view nutrition information for the various drink sizes. A tall cappuccino, for example, shows the hot beverage, consisting of 2% milk and brewed espresso, contains one shot of espresso and 75 mg of caffeine. When a customer selects a Grande cappuccino, the site shows the drink will contain 2 shots of espresso and 150 mg of caffeine.
However, the amount of espresso and caffeine remains the exact same for the Venti cappuccino.