At least one class action lawsuit has been filed against single-serve coffee market leader Green Mountain Coffee. A recent deal united Green Mountain Coffee, Keurig, and Starbucks.
Accusations include consumer fraud, breached warranty of obligations, and of the firms being unjustly enriched over a number of its Keurig Reservoir Brewing Systems. The brewing systems have never been recalled; however, the firms were long aware of the defect—which includes a defective brewing pump—but chose company profits over consumer losses.
The class action lawsuit was filed against Green Mountain Coffee on behalf of consumers who purchased the following Keurig Reservoir Brewing Systems, as far back as February 18, 2008:
- Keurig® Platinum Brewing System (model series B70)
- Keurig Special Edition Brewing System (model series B60)
- Keurig Elite Brewing System (model series B40)
- Keurig B155 Brewing System
- Keurig OfficePRO™ Brewing System
- Keurig MINI Plus Brewing System (model series B31)
- Keurig B130 In-Room Brewing System
- Keurig B150 Brewing System
- Keurig B140 Brewing System
- Breville Brewing System with Keurig Brewed® Technology
- Cuisinart® Brewing System with Keurig Brewed Technology
- Mr. Coffee® Brewing System with Keurig Brewed Technology
- Keurig B200 Brewing System
The action alleges that both Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. and Keurig, Inc.:
- Participated in illegal conduct in how they marketed and sold the Reservoir Brewers and that these products were falsely advertised.
- The performance and durability of the Keurig Reservoir Brewers were falsely misrepresented.
- That the Keurig Reservoir systems’ claims to brew specific amounts of specific beverages were falsely advertised and that, due to defective components, the machines brewed less than the amount indicated.
- Defects caused the Reservoir Brewing Systems to fail, compromising the beverages’ quality, which has led some consumers to use more than the one specified K-Cup® to brew a single beverage.
The cups—so-called “coffee pods”—are placed in a chamber in the system. The beverages—coffee, tea, cocoa, and iced beverages, for example—are brewed using one K-Cup; however, the defect has caused consumers to use more than one of the pods per each cup brewed due to partial or short cups. Because of this, customers have either had to use a second cup to make up the difference or waste the first cup in the hopes the second would be delivered, as promised. The cups are proprietary, which means that the more cups used to make a beverage, the greater the profits to Green Mountain and Keurig.
Consumers have been—and continue to be—forced to pay more than they were led to believe to operate this defective product. And, worse, Green Mountain and Keurig were aware of the machines’ defects, but have never recalled the defective brewers. Also, by April 28, 2010, Keurig and Green Mountain were having conference calls with investors and analysts over concerns that their defective machine returns were reducing profits. By the following February, the defendants finally admitted that the new Keurig Reservoir Brewers were not as “robust” as in earlier years; however, the products have yet to be recalled.
Meanwhile, customers have been complaining to Green Mountain and Keurig and on customer review websites about the defect as far back as 2008. Customers claim they have largely been ignored, but that when a response is received, their only recompense has been brewer replacements that, while unused, are equally defective.