Starbucks have once again found themselves in hot water, or rather in this case, cold water.
The coffee giant has been sued for a whopping $5million (£3.4million) for putting too much ice in its cold drinks.
Customer Stacey Pincus filed a lawsuit against the chain, stating that the volume of liquid in their cold drinks was sometimes little more than half of that advertised, due to the additional ice.
Starbucks provides the volume of each of its serving sizes in fluid ounces in its US locations, but Pincus said these figures were really only the size of the cup, rather than the drink.
Starbucks said the case was "without merit" because “ice was a fundamental part of an iced drink”.
Pincus said Starbucks could serve its cold drinks in larger cups that would allow room for the advertised volume of liquid, plus ice. The company advertises four sizes on its menu – tall, grande, venti and trenta (which are 12, 16, 24 and 30 fluid ounces respectively).
So a Starbucks customer who orders a venti cold drink receives only 14 fluid ounces of that drink – just over half the advertised amount, and just over half the amount for which they are paying.
In essence, Starbucks is advertising the size of its cold drink cups on its menu, rather than the amount of fluid a customer will receive when they make a purchase – and deceiving its customers in the process.
It seems every other day we get a news story about businesses and brands misleading their customers.
Even worse is when those businesses don’t own up to those mistakes.
Some of the biggest assets you have are your current customers. If something happens that they should know about – tell them. When something is going wrong, let them know.
This sounds simple to say, but can be hard to do for fear of losing a client.
Own up to your mistakes, then make things right with your customers.
As your best source for new business, don’t give them the opportunity to say, “Well, they’re good, but they’re a bit sneaky when it comes to…”
If you make a mistake, be professional enough to admit it – and be humble. Own up and apologise before anyone else has the chance to publicly make a harsh judgment that could damage your reputation further.
Everyone has flaws – it’s what makes us human.
Handled correctly, being honest about and accountable for your mistakes could make all the difference.
P.S. You can read about the lawsuit here: https://metro.co.uk/2016/05/01/starbucks-sued-3-4million-for-putting-too-much-ice-in-drinks-5852358/