Lawsuit: Starbucks iced coffee has too much ice

Posted at 8:08 AM, May 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-02 09:28:26-04

An Illinois woman has filed a lawsuit against Starbucks for $5 million, arguing the coffee giant uses too much ice in its iced coffee drinks.

Stacy Pincus' suit says that customers can end up with as little as half of the amount of drink that is listed on menus due to the amount of ice that's added to the cup, NBC News reports. Pincus also alleges that Starbucks is purposely tricking customers.

"The word 'beverage' is defined as 'a drinkable liquid.' Ice is not a 'beverage' by definition. Accordingly, Starbucks actually gives the customer much less beverage in the cold drinks they order and pay for," court papers say.

TODAY'S Jeff Rossen sat down with an NBC News legal expert to discuss the suit's merit.

"They include this photo of a Starbucks cup and the claim is these black lines are actually fill lines, and they say Starbucks knows exactly what they're doing. They tell baristas only fill the liquid up to those black lines. Then fill the rest of the cup up with ice. What do you make of that?" Rossen asked.

"This could be a valid argument," said Karen DeSoto, NBC News legal expert. "The plaintiff clearly believes that this is an admission that Starbucks knew that they were doing something wrong. The ultimate question is going to be is ice a fluid or is it going to be considered a solid?

The class action suit was filed on behalf of anyone who has bought a cold drink at Starbucks within the last decade. Starbucks spokeswoman Jaime Riley told NBC News that Pincus' claims are "without merit."