Baskin-Robbins Fined $500,000 For Shorting "Pints" Of Ice Cream

Baskin-Robbins has settled a consumer protection lawsuit with the San Diego Attorney General after it was discovered that 83% of their “hand packed pints” of ice cream were about 4 oz short of being an actual pint. Whoops.

Baskin-Robbins will pay “penalties of $343,000 and investigation costs of $148,164. [The settlement] also contains a court order prohibiting Baskin-Robbins and its franchisees from delivering less quantity of its products than what is advertised,” according to the attorney general’s press release.

“Our office works hard to ensure that consumers receive exactly what is advertised to them,” said DA Dumanis. “It’s important to hold businesses accountable–even when it comes to ice cream—and we will continue to make sure the public gets what it pays for.”

Ice cream is serious business! —MEGHANN MARCO

Baskin-Robbins Ordered to Pay Almost $500,000 for Not Delivering As Advertised (PDF)(Thanks, Larry!)
(Photo:Maulleigh)

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  1. chipslave says:

    Without the extra 4 oz.’s how am I supposed to get fat and sue them for getting me fat?

  2. dbeahn says:

    I always assumed that “hand packed” MEANT that I would be getting a little less than a pint – that’s the nature of “by hand” rather than “melted, poured and re-frozen by an automated process”.

    But hey, whatever.

  3. homerjay says:

    $500,000 would buy them a LOT of really nice scales. They can’t afford it now!

  4. Youthier says:

    When I worked there, we had a little scale that we had to weigh all our hand packed pints, quarts, and gallons on. And I always thought – “This is weird because a pint/quart/gallon is a volume measurement.” And nuts, candies, cookies, etc in the ice cream affect the weight.

    In all honesty, if an underpaid teenager whose boss violates minor labor laws is packing this thing, it depends on how hard the ice cream is and how much of a jerk you are.

  5. Youthier says:

    @homerjay: Okay, now I’m looking at your comment and thinking you could use a scale and I’m just a huge moron.

    It doesn’t really matter, I guess. The point is that I’m sure my boss was riping people off too.

  6. chipslave says:

    Ugh… I did tech support for thier POS systems. I swear that Baskin would give a franchise to anyone. And they would never pay their support bills and demand service.

    Ah… good times!

  7. gorckat says:

    missbrooke06: Did you pack them to 20 ounces? If so, I wonder of someone somewhere someday decided that “20 fluid ounces must equal 20 dry ounces, so lets not pack more than we need to and save some dough.”

  8. gorckat says:

    Although my water bottle says 16.9 ounces = 1.06 pints, so those silly British need to get out of my Wikipedia!

    So…did you pack them to 16 oz?

  9. raybury says:

    Yes, cookies and such will affect weight, but we’re dealing with a minimum here, not a maximum. (The maximum will be enforced by fitting the lid on the container!) A pint of ice cream will weigh between x and y, so make sure the pints you pack weigh at least x and you’re in business.

  10. MentalDisconnect says:

    I was just at Baskin Robbin’s yesterday! Almost bought a pint, glad I didn’t! (Well… heh.. I really doubt those 4 oz. would have made a difference to my enjoyment). Now I’m hungry. Thanks.

  11. royal72 says:

    so where and to whom is that settlement going? all i’ve found is a breakdown of what has been paid to the city and county of san diego…

    “This judgment also required the payment of $148,195.27 in costs and civil penalties, $87,871.21 of which is paid directly to the City of San Diego as its share of the penalties and costs of prosecution. The balance is paid to the County of San Diego as its share of the penalties (also $50,011.22) as required by statute, and the remainder ($10,312.84) is paid to the participating weights and measures departments for their costs incurred in the investigation. This judgment has been paid in full. As you may know, I established the Consumer Fraud Unit in 1973 as a specialized section of the Criminal Division. This
    most recent case settlement is a fine example of how broad-based and effective law enforcement can be accomplished through such an organization.
    Respectfully submitted,
    JOHN W. WITT
    City Attorney”

    anyone got more info?

  12. Nicholai says:

    So I can sue gatorade because there was only 19.9 oz. of gatorade im my 20 oz bottle?
    Jeesh. I guess sueing is the new get-rich quick sceme.

  13. B says:

    @gorckat: A pint’s a pound, the world around (a pint of water at one atmosphere of pressure, at least). So 16 ounces of ice cream, if it had the same density as water, would weigh a pound. Since Ice cream is less dense than water (other wise an ice cream float wouldn’t float), you need more ice cream to make a pound.

  14. timmus says:

    Let’s see… Baskin-Robbins revenue: probably about $500 million. Fine: $500K. That’s 0.1%.

    So that’s probably about the same as an average American earning $40K getting a fine of $40.

    That’s why I call these fines a slap on the wrist… but still it’s MUCH better than the puny $10,000 fines I hear about imposed by the Federal government for worse misconduct.

  15. Youthier says:

    @gorckat: You know, it was about 6 years ago now so I don’t remember what the scale was supposed to say. I usually just filled the container unless my boss was around (and he rarely was. As chipslave said, they give a franchise to anyone.)

    We were also supposed to weigh every SCOOP to a certain weight. It was bad news when you had to weigh it because the boss was there and the customer said “But you gave me more last time!”

  16. Welcome_to_Oakas says:

    @darkblast93: A pint is 16 ounces, so that would be the equivalent of your 20 oz gatorade only having 15 ounces of teeth rotting goodness.
    Forget the ice cream though. I’m bringing a graduated cylinder to make sure the local barkeep isn’t a meniscus below a pint!

  17. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    In other news, investigators find that Baskin-Robbins really has only 25.73 flavors, a mere 83% of the flavors they claim to have.

  18. Buran says:

    @dbeahn: If you label it with a certain amount, that’s what it has to contain. If they had added the word “about”, they might have been OK. But they didn’t.

  19. rmz says:

    Forget the missing four ounces; I want to know where the hell the 31 flavors are. I’ve never once been into a Baskin-Robbins that actually had 31 flavors of ice cream to offer.

    They’ve got all of these random froo-froo blended shakes and ice cream cakes and even doughnuts at the local stores around here, but they can’t even get the thing that they advertise on their logo correct.

  20. mattbrown says:

    I’d only eat ice cream is has the seal of measurements and weights. Ice cream should be regulated by the government!

  21. Manksgloob says:

    Well, the government DOES regulate certain aspects of ice cream, such as how much air (overrun) is allowed to be mixed in…at least for legal definitions.
    Up to 100% for “Ice Cream”
    About 20% for “Gelato”

    That, and % milkfat.
    10% = “Ice Cream”
    12-16% = “Premium Ice Cream”
    >16% = “Super-premium Ice Cream”

    Mmm…

  22. EtherealStrife says:

    I worked at Baskin Robbins for awhile, and we also had to use the scales. For everything. When you first start they even have you using em for practice scooping (you should be getting it within ~5-10% +- of a set weight value EVERY scoop you make). Hand packs were measured EVERY time, and you had to get it even closer to the amount.

    Also, the reason why it may seem like less ice cream is because we had to pack the hell out of it to get it into the small containers. You’re getting a brick, not a fluffy mass (like you would at supermarket, or with scoops). you end up with at least a pint, in a container that’s 75% the size of a pint (or whatever). If you do it to the scales like you’re required, there is 0 room for air.

  23. jstruan says:

    There’s no such thing as a “San Diego Attorney General.” The press release you link to states that the lawsuit was filed by the San Diego District Attorney and California Attorney General. Every state has an Attorney General. California’s AG is Jerry Brown.

  24. cyclade says:

    Good for the AG! If it ain’t a pint, don’t call it a pint. Now when are they going to go after bars and restaurants that sell “pints” of beer in those ubiquitous glasses that contain not a pint, but 14 ounces or less? I figured this little secret out when I worked in an Irish pub (thankfully, our stouts were served in a proper 19 ounce imperial pint glass). Try it next time you’re at your favorite watering hole. Order a 12 ounce bottle and pour it into one of those glasses. There won’t be nearly four ounces of room left in that glass.

  25. jaewon223 says:

    Why doesn’t that judge get on Microsoft case for not being able to remove your credit card from their LIVE service?

    Anyway go Dairy Queen!

  26. mr.b says:

    @meghann:

    call me a nit-picking douchebag, but Bonnie Dumanis is the San Diego District Attorney, not the “San Diego Attorney General”

    hell, even the quote from the press release refers to Bonnie [oh yeah, first name basis down here in the german town of whale’s vagina] as the DA…

    in CA, the attorney general is a *statewide* position…and the current AG is former governor of CA and former mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown:
    http://ag.ca.gov/

  27. brandivicus says:

    I used to work for Baskin Robbins when I was 15. I was taught that we weighed every handpacked item for accuracy before it was given to the customer. But then again, that was decades ago and in my mind society has become so corrupt and disgusting in these last few decades that I’m not surprised they’ve changed their policy to screwing the customer…that’s pretty much what every business, and soon every individual will do…Society is Doomed to Doom itself. – Sincerely, A decent person in a world of shit and decay.

  28. NZDave says:

    Seems like that silly post on ‘a glass of juice’ a month or so ago. Some people on this site actually thought that ice was in fact juice and therefore constituted juice.

    I bet the outstanding amount here was ice as well, which we all know is of course ice cream.

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