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Judge: Starbucks is not cheating customers by putting ice in cold drinks

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Alexander Forouzesh felt cheated by all the ice Starbucks was putting in his cold drinks.

It's downright fraudulent, he argued, to say you're serving a 12 ounce beverage when there aren't 12 ounces of drinkable liquid in it.

The lawsuit Forouzesh filed in California claimed everybody who orders cold drinks from Starbucks is a victim of the company's negligent misrepresentation. He wanted his complaint certified as a class action suit on behalf of all Californians who'd been served those fraudulent drinks in the previous decade.

But alas, the scales of justice gave Forouzesh the cold shoulder.

"Young children learn ... they can order 'no ice'"

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson doused the fraud argument. The judge writes in his ruling that even young children learn they can increase the beverage in their cup if they order it without ice. The judge continues:

"If children have figured out that including ice in a cold beverage decreases the amount of liquid they will receive, the Court has no difficulty concluding that a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into thinking that when they order an iced tea, that the drink they receive will include both ice and tea and that for a given size cup, some portion of the drink will be ice rather than whatever liquid beverage the consumer ordered."

The judge noted that Starbucks is additionally transparent on this issue because it uses clear cups, allowing customers to see the proportion of ice to beverage.

When the lawsuit was filed a Starbucks spokeswoman told the Washington Post: “Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any ‘iced’ beverage. If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it.”

The judge in California may not have the final say on the matter, though. Another lawsuit filed in Chicago makes a nearly identical argument.
If that, too, is dismissed the allegation of wrongdoing at the icemaker may melt away altogether.

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