Starbucks fruit drinks aren’t as fruity as claimed, lawsuit says
Starbucks Refresher drinks aren’t as fruity as their names suggest, a New York woman alleges in a proposed class action lawsuit who asks, “Where’s the acai?”
“Despite their names, and unbeknownst to consumers, Mango Dragonfruit Refreshers and Mango Dragonfruit Lemonade Refreshers do not contain mango, Pineapple Passionfruit Refreshers and Pineapple Passionfruit Lemonade Refreshers do not contain passion fruit, and Strawberry Refreshers Acai and Strawberry Acai Lemonade Refreshers do not contain acai,” Joan Kominis said in the lawsuit filed Friday in Manhattan federal court.
Queens resident Kominis doesn’t say in her suit how she determined the ingredients were missing. She claims that soft drinks are all primarily made up of water, grape juice concentrate and sugar.
A Starbucks spokesperson said the Seattle-based company did not receive a lawsuit and had no comment.
Kominis said she stumbled across the alleged deception when she bought the strawberry acai drink, only to find it didn’t contain acai (ah-sah-EE), robbing her of the benefits. known from the fruit for health. The company’s website says the drink is “accented” with acai “hints.”
According to the lawsuit, the product names constitute an “implied promise” about their ingredients and Starbucks violated a New York law prohibiting deceptive practices and false advertising. Kominis accused Starbucks of unjust enrichment, saying it billed the drinks as if they contained the advertised ingredients.
A large or medium Dragonfruit Refresher mango costs $5.25 at a store in midtown Manhattan.
“Plaintiff and other consumers purchased the products and paid a high price based on their confidence in defendant’s naming of the products,” Kominis said. “If the plaintiff and other consumers had been aware that any of the named fruits were missing from the products, they would not have purchased the products or paid significantly less for them.”
Robert Abiri, the Los Angeles-based attorney who filed the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. Kominis’ complaint does not specify the potential damages but says the “disputed amount” is over $5 million.
Other chains have faced allegations that the ingredients in their products are not as advertised.
Subway Restaurants has fought a lawsuit brought by California consumers who claim its tuna sandwich is adulterated with other species of fish, animal products and other mysterious substances. Subway denies this claim and states on its website that it only uses wild-caught Skipjack tuna in its sandwiches.
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