If you're someone who starts their day with a visit to a Starbucks store and occasionally contemplates the fruit juice menu as a coffee substitute, thinking you're kickstarting your day with real fruit, you might want to reconsider.
It appears that consumers are becoming more discerning, and relying solely on flashy advertising is losing its effectiveness.
Over the past few years, there have been several lawsuits against major companies like Wendy's and McDonald's, all revolving around allegations of false advertising. And now, in the latest development, Starbucks finds itself entangled in a similar controversy.
The price hike is attributed to customers being misled into thinking that drinks like Mango Dragonfruit, Strawberry Açaí, and Pineapple Passionfruit contain real mango, açaí, and passion fruit, when they actually contain dragonfruit, strawberry, and pineapple.
Joan Kominis of Astoria, New York, and Jason McAllister of Fairfield, California, are leading this legal action. They claim that Starbucks has violated consumer protection laws in their respective states by charging higher prices for drinks with misleading names.
This legal action, initiated in August 2022, seeks a minimum of $5 million in damages. It was on Monday, September 18, that the judge ordered Starbucks to face this lawsuit.
According to the plaintiffs, they paid a premium price, ranging from $3.95 (INR 330) to $5.95 (INR 500), believing these drinks contained the ingredients indicated by their names.
Clearly, this is not the first instance of a consumer taking a company to court over false advertising. In July, Frank Siragusa from New York sued Taco Bell for $5 million, claiming that the Mexican pizza he ordered had significantly less beef and bean filling than depicted in the chain's advertising.
In December 2022, Siragusa, along with his legal team, filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn against McDonald's and Wendy's, focusing on the disparity in the size of their burgers between advertisements and reality.