Operations

Starbucks is not a cheat, court decides

A lawsuit accusing the chain of duping customers with underfilled drinks was thrown out by a federal court.

A federal court has thrown out a class-action lawsuit that accused Starbucks of cheating customers by underfilling cups and providing excessive amounts of foam.

The suit, filed in 2016, alleged that Starbucks’ cups were too small to provide the amounts of coffee that are promised on the chain’s menu boards.

“For example, the serving cup used for Grande beverages holds exactly 16 fluid ounces, when completely full,” the legal action alleges. “However, Starbucks’ standardized recipe for its Grande Latte calls to fill the serving cup up to ‘1/4 inch below cup rim.’”

Drinks could be short-poured by as much as 25%, according to the court filing, which accused Starbucks of false advertising.

The suit also contends that Starbucks generated more foam than was necessary for lattes as a way of saving on milk.

The U.S. District Court of California’s Northern District agreed with Starbucks’ assertions that the chain was not delivering less of a drink than was promised, and dismissed the action. The chain had argued that it has to leave room for foam atop a latte because the froth typically expands after being served.

The action marks the second time in two years that Starbucks has survived challenges of its portioning policies. In 2016, a California court dismissed a lawsuit that alleged the chain was underfilling cold drinks by using too many ice cubes.

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