Consumer protections exist so that customers get what they pay for with their hard-earned money and are not harmed by the consumption or intended use of their purchases. However, as much as corporations can abuse their power over their customers, customers can also abuse the legal system by filing frivolous lawsuits. Here are instances where people have gone loco with litigiousness.
Fooled by Froot Loops and similar cereals
How could names such as “Froot Loops” and “Crunch Berries” on cereal boxes make people believe that they’ll get real fruit? While it's true that some cereal variants contain dried fruits, those aptly show them on the packaging and clearly state having such in the ingredients list. However, Froot Loops and Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries never depicted actual fruits on their packaging and did not include real fruits in their lists of ingredients.
Yet a man in California named Roy Werbel claimed in a class action suit that “[h]ad he known that 'Froot Loops' contained no fruit, he would not have purchased it.” He should have taken a cue from previous rulings to similar cases, where judges explained that the term “Froot Loops” does not indicate the inclusion of real fruit because 1) “froot” is not real, and 2) real fruit do not come in loopy shapes.
In another case, a woman named Janine Sugawara sued Cap’n Crunch manufacturer PepsiCo for making her believe that Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries contained real berries. Her issue was the mention of “berries” in the product’s name, so looking at the list of actual ingredients was apparently not discussed during the proceedings. Nevertheless, the courts ruled in PepsiCo’s favor, stating that:
"[W]hile the challenged packaging contains the word 'berries' it does so only in conjunction with the descriptive term 'crunch.' This Court is not aware of, nor has Plaintiff alleged the existence of, any actual fruit referred to as a 'crunchberry.'... Thus, a reasonable consumer would not be deceived into believing that the [box] contained a fruit that does not exist. ... So far as this Court has been made aware, there is no such fruit growing in the wild or occurring naturally in any part of the world."
Good grief. Talk about frooty plaintiffs.
Ice in iced coffee caused plaintiffs to lose their cool
Back in 2016, a class action lawsuit was brought against Starbucks because the plaintiffs felt that they were being robbed of coffee in their iced coffees because ice fills up nearly half of the coffeehouse's serving cups.
It’s such an odd suit to file because firstly, couldn’t the plaintiffs have requested less ice? Ice is usually the first ingredient put in one’s cup, so if one disagreed with the volume of ice added, one could kindly ask the barista to chuck out some of the ice before they pour the coffee in. Starbucks, after all, lets customers customize their drinks the way they want it. In fact, one could ask for “light ice” while ordering, meaning there would be more drink and less ice in the cup. Furthermore, Starbucks has a policy of remaking a customer’s beverage if the latter is dissatisfied with it. No need to be litigious over a caffeine fix.
Judge Percy Anderson dismissed the case, essentially stating that iced beverages will obviously have ice as a portion of the volume advertised.
Wait...Chobani’s Greek yogurt isn’t from Greece? The nerve!
Delirious duo Allen Chang and Barry Stoltz sued yogurt maker Chobani because their Greek yogurt is not imported from Greece nor is it made by Greeks. With their logic, they ought to sue McDonald’s for serving french fries that aren’t shipped from France and Aunt Jemima for their Belgian waffles that are made in the USA. Someone ought to tell the pair that the terms “Greek,” “French,” and “Belgian” refer to preparation styles, not where the products ought to come from.
At Buckingham, LaGrandeur & Williams, we take your grievances seriously, though we’ll definitely be honest with you if we find your suit questionable like the cases above. We’ll advise you of paths you can take outside of the courts, so you can reach proper resolutions with less time, effort, and money spent. As a firm, we’re not here to merely rack up billable hours — trust that our legal experts always have your best interests at heart.