Red Bull doesn't give you wings
From the country where you can sue because your coffee's too hot comes the latest legal surprise: Red Bull is to give its US customers up to $10 each because its energy drink doesn't actually give you wings.
The company has settled out of court in a class action lawsuit that accused it of making false and misleading advertising claims. It has been using the phrase to market its drink for over 20 years, saying it improves concentration and reaction speeds. But some customers disagreed.
"Such deceptive conduct and practices mean that [Red Bull's] advertising and marketing is not just 'puffery,' but is instead deceptive and fraudulent and is therefore actionable," reads the suit.
"Even though there is a lack of genuine scientific support for a claim that Red Bull branded energy drinks provide any more benefit to a consumer than a cup of coffee, the Red Bull defendants persistently and pervasively market their product as a superior source of "energy" worthy of a premium price over a cup of coffee or other sources of caffeine."
Rather than go all the way to court, Red Bull will now pay $13 million into a settlement fund and reimburse disappointed customers with either a cheque for up to $10 or a voucher for $15 worth of Red Bull products.
But, it says: "Red Bull settled the lawsuit to avoid the cost and distraction of litigation. However, Red Bull maintains that its marketing and labeling have always been truthful and accurate, and denies any and all wrongdoing or liability."
The cash is available for any US customers who bought the drink between January 1, 2002 and October 3, 2014, whether or not they have a receipt. To claim, they'll need to visit this website and fill in a form. Payments will be approved by May, and sent out later next year.
If too many people apply before the $13 million runs out, though, the money will be split evenly. And, given that the claims website is currently crashing under the load, payouts are likely to be a lot less than $10 each.
The US is known as being a litigant's paradise where practically everything is grounds for a lawsuit. Famously, one woman sued McDonalds in 1992 for serving too-hot coffee at its drive-throughs. In that case, though, there was some sense: the coffee was being served at a blistering 190 degrees and gave the 79-year-old woman third-degree burns.
Far weirder is a case currently working its way through the courts in which a woman is suing the Walt Disney Corporation for $250 million, claiming that the plot of blockbuster movie Frozen was stolen from her own life story.
Meanwhile, another woman is looking for $275,000 in damages after being attacked by a duck with "dangerous propensities"; and a California man wants $1.5 million from McDonalds because it gave him only one napkin with his meal.
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