A Missouri judge allows a settlement involving a number of hapless “Rita” drinkers and Anheuser-Busch, the company behind Budweiser.
The disgruntled customers say they were tricked into buying the company’s margarita drinks by believing they contain tequila. The drinks manufacturer chose to settle with the customers.
In a 2020 complaint, plaintiffs Megan Browning and Adam Kesselring accused the beer maker of false advertising, fraud, and breach of warranty when it used terms like “sparkling margarita,” “mojito” “sangria” and “rosé” in packaging, as well as with images of cocktail and wine glasses.
Only a small disclaimer on the bottom of the Ritas box indicates the drinks are actually malt beverages “with natural flavors and caramel color,” according to the complaint.
Two years later, a settlement has been reached. Last month, despite admitting no wrongdoing, Anheuser-Busch agreed to end litigation by financially compensating eligible consumers who had purchased Rita products and by altering the language used to sell these products.
On the site RitasSettlement.com, anyone who purchased any Ritas product in the U.S. for personal consumption from January 1, 2018, to July 19, 2022, can fill out a claim form until December 16.
A total of 112 different Rita-branded products are included in the settlement. Consumers with proof of purchase can claim up to $21.25 per household, but even without proof of purchase, a claim can be made for a refund of up to $9.75.
That said, to get full compensation, you’ll need to have drunk a lot of Ritas. Payments are reportedly based on the type of products purchased, and, for instance, for 8-ounce cans, consumers can receive $0.30 per four-pack or $0.60 per 24-pack.
It leaves a big question: If you’re claiming a full refund because you’d purchased, say, 36 cases of Lime-A-Ritas for personal consumption, can you really say you weren’t familiar enough with the product to know it doesn’t contain tequila? But hey, I’m not here to judge, that’s what the federal court is for.