A Winnetka man believes he and thousands of other customers of Peet’s Coffee have gotten too little French press coffee over the last five years, compared to what is advertised on the coffeehouse chain’s menus. And now he believes the purveyor should be made to pay up for allegedly duping its patrons.

On Oct. 29, plaintiff Robert Garrett, through attorney Alexander Loftus and the Voelker Litigation Group, of Chicago, filed a complaint in Cook County Circuit Court against Emerysville, Calif.-based Peet’s Coffee & Tea, asserting the company has for years shorted customers on the amount of coffee they receive when ordering either 12-ounce or 32-ounce cups of Peet’s Press Pot coffee.

While the menu board at the coffeehouses proclaim those sizes, and customers may believe they are paying for those sizes, Garrett’s complaint said, in fact, they receive significantly less. For instance, the complaint asserted the largest cup in which beverages are sold at Peet’s can only hold 24 ounces of coffee.

“In truth, they are at least 25 percent less than the advertised volume,” Garrett’s complaint stated.

The complaint noted the volumes referenced on the menu board may actually refer to the size of the French press devices in which the coffee is steeped. But it said, by referencing the volumes on the menu board, Peet’s intend to fool customers into believing they are actually receiving that much coffee.

"Defendants (Peet’s) have engaged in conduct designed to induce, or having the affect (sic) of inducing, consumers to believe that they are receiving materially more ounces of press coffee for their money than they actually are,” the complaint said.

Garrett’s complaint noted the press pot coffee is the only beverage sold by Peet’s according to specific volumes, rather than in more general sizes, such as small, medium and large.

Garrett who purchases his Peet’s coffee at the chain’s store at 817 Elm Street, Winnetka, said he believes thousands of others who ordered Peet’s Press Pot coffee at the chain’s nearly 250 locations nationwide likely could join his lawsuit, should the court allow it to proceed as a class action.

He has alleged Peet’s actions violated state consumer fraud laws, and constituted breach of contract and unjust enrichment. He has asked the court to award unspecified compensatory damages and fees for himself and other members of the putative class

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