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Reuters reports that Bodum Holding AG, maker of a well-known brand of French press coffee makers, is suing Starbucks, accusing it of disparaging one of its products.

The story points out that Starbucks recently recalled “263,200 co-branded French presses made from recycled materials,” saying that they were defective; Starbucks says that “it recalled presses sold from November 2016 to January 2019 for about $20 each after receiving nine reports of broken plunger knobs, resulting in lacerations or punctures.”

Bodum says that tests did not prove any specific defect, but that Starbucks was being over-sensitive. The recall, it says, created the impression that all Bodum French presses were defective, and caused it “significant brand damage.”
KC's View:
Two things here.

First, nine problems apparently related to product quality strikes me as being more than a coincidence. This doesn’t strike me as over-sensitivity. In fact, it strikes me as being entirely appropriate … and Starbucks did the right thing.

Second, I would challenge Bodum’s assertion that it affected all of its French presses. In fact, I bought one over the weekend at Crate & Barrel, and it never occurred to me that it would share the problem with the version sold at Starbucks. However, if for some reason I have a problem, I expect Crate & Barrel to take it back, and if there are multiple problems reported by a number of consumers, I expect Crate & Barrel to take broader actions.

Good retailers are agents for their consumers. They ought not be sued for fulfilling this mandate.