Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




Starbucks Customer Sues For $114 Million After Coupon Turned Down

from the don't-they-understand-by-now? dept

In the early web days, there were a few examples of companies sending out online coupons -- but they quickly learned the potential downsides, such as the coupons spreading much more widely than planned and/or the coupons being faked. Many companies learned to ditch online coupons altogether. One company that was a victim, back in 2002, was Starbucks. A fake online coupon for a free drink was sent around, and stores were inundated with people claiming a free drink. It's a story that even made Snopes.com -- and generated a ton of ill-will towards Starbucks. So you would think (wouldn't you?) that the folks involved with Starbucks promotions would know to be extra careful about such things. Turns out you'd be absolutely wrong. A few weeks ago, Starbucks sent out an online email coupon to some employees, suggesting they pass it on to some friends -- which they did. And those friends passed it on, and those friends passed it on, and it got posted to deal boards, and soon pretty much everyone saw it. So, Starbucks, who apparently learned nothing from the event in 2002 canceled the coupon. In this case, it was even worse than last time. In 2002, the coupons were fake. This time around they were real -- so customers are even more pissed off. However, it seems some are going a bit too far in their anger at the lack of a free drink. One customer has hired a lawyer to sue Starbucks for $114 million over the banned coupons. Yes, because she was unable to get a free drink. This seems like a lawsuit unlikely to get very far. Of course, some smart competitors have already stepped up and said that they will accept the denied Starbucks coupons. Starbucks might want to do the same thing, and make sure that every new employee in the promotions department learns about both the 2002 event and this latest one.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:09pm

    we do

    I'm a barista at Starbucks, and at least my store has been accepting these coupons but have been letting each person know that they won't be accepted after that. We've only had a few.

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    • identicon
      Harry Cichy, 15 Sep 2006 @ 12:46am

      Re: we do

      Starbucks Free Coffee offer, Starbucks give them their cup of coffee, would save a whole lot of legals, remember Hoover & the 'Free Flight Promotion, Harry does. " When you do a deal, you should stick to it." It may also make some good publicity for Starbucks.

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      • identicon
        Harry Cichy, 18 Sep 2006 @ 11:53pm

        Re: Re: we do

        Ryanair Free Flights. 5 Million free seats offer. You just pay the suppliements. 'Cheap' yes, 'Free' no. This is a clear breach of the Advertising Standards Authority, CAP Code. Complaint's should be registered at the ASA website. Free flight flyers, who have already purchased 'Free Flight's should ask Michael O' Leary and Ryanair for a refund of supliements that they have been charged,(taxes,fees,charges.) It should be noted that the ASA has ruled on the BT 'Free Flight' Promotion & The Gallo/Sainsbury 'Free Flight Offer'.

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  • identicon
    lil'bit, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:21pm

    depends on what the coupon is for, doesn't it?

    When my sister worked for Levi Strauss, she would get what were called "Friend & Family" coupons twice a year, via email. Same deal as Starbucks - encourgement to email them out to anyone she wanted.
    She sent them to me everytime and I spread them around to all my co-workers but apparently not everyone did because they still do it twice a year. Of course, the are only good at Levi stores, of which there are only 7 or 9 around the country, so maybe Starbucks can learn from that.
    Send a coupon but make it good only at one store per state or something like that.

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  • identicon
    Ben, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:25pm

    Sad part

    The sad part is she's probably gonna win.

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  • identicon
    Todd, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:26pm

    Apples and Oranges

    A "friends and family" discount is a little different than free product.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:26pm

    And the amount awarded to the plaintiff

    ONE BIG BITCH SLAP. Seriously, not only should this case get thrown out immediatley, but the judge should give this lady a kick right in the ass. I know this is not the first time nor the last we will see lawsuits like this, but it makes me laugh every time.

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  • identicon
    Gina, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:34pm

    starbucks coupon

    ...well, if you can get rich by spilling hot coffee on yourself, why not by being denied a free cup? What a crazy place we live in! And isn't there a law about frivolous law suits?????

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:52pm

      Re: starbucks coupon

      Maybe you didn't get the memo about the Mcdonalds lawsuit. There was MUCH more than just coffee spillage

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Dosquatch, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:57am

        Re: Re: starbucks coupon

        Maybe you didn't get the memo about the Mcdonalds lawsuit. There was MUCH more than just coffee spillage

        Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, severe burns, skin grafts, blah blah blah. WTFever. This is not the freaking point, okay? Had The Clown hosed her down in scalding coffee, I could see it being McDonald's fault, but that's not what happened. She took the lid off of the cup of coffee, wedged it between her thighs, and drove off. The basis of her lawsuit is the same as if I were to sue the Good Humor company for injuries caused by running with a popsicle stick in my mouth (for example).

        She suffered self-inflicted injuries. She is an idiot. The judge that let her win is an idiot. Anyone who does not understand this is an idiot.

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    • identicon
      Teilo, 11 Sep 2006 @ 6:55pm

      Re: starbucks coupon

      There was once a law against frivilous lawsuits. Someone brought forward a lawsuit in order to overturn it. The judge refused to hear the lawsuit because it was frivilous. On appeal, the court overturned the law, ruling that any law which by its very nature makes it illegal to overturn itself, is a frivilous law, and thus must be overturned.

      Or so I heard. Somewhere. Probably in a bar.

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    • identicon
      Mary Herendeen, 27 Jan 2007 @ 1:17pm

      Re: starbucks coupon

      That old lady had third-degree burns between her legs and had to undergo major surgery. She had originally only asked for her medical bills to be paid. McDonald's would not. On another note, McDonald's was aware that its coffee was indeed too hot, but they refused to change it until this incident. Granted, the payout was extreme, but if McDonald's hadn't have been greedy and unsympathetic in the first place, it would have never happened. This case, however, IS ridiculous. Nobody was hurt.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:08pm

    I don't know that this lawsuit really is that frivolous. Yes, millions for a missed drink are absurd if the plaintiff is a single person.

    Turned into a class action suit, it would make some sense.

    A business put out an offer. A written contract. There was no printing mistake made, the company simply decided for reasons immaterial to the consumer they don't wish to honor their written contract.

    That is called bait and switch and is illegal. 'Yes, I know you have a legitimate coupon that we issued, but we won't give you the free drink we promised. However, we would gladly sell it to you at the full price!" (said with a smile).

    They should be sued.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:21pm

    Just plain stupid.

    Regardless of whatever the coupon is for suing that company for money is just plain asinine. If you think they should be sued you are also an idiot. IT IS A CUP OF FREAKING COFFEE! They did not offer a free 114 million dollars with next purchase!!!!! The peron doing the suing should be put out of their and our misery.
    Boo freaking hoo to everyone who could not redeem their stinking coupon for a free drink. Strap on a pair of stones and maybe actually buy it if you need it that bad. I am sure you could even find the change laying out on te street in front of that crap factory from other fancy named coffee drinking knuckleheaded sheep.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Nov 2006 @ 11:56pm

      Re: Just plain stupid.

      At least be happy about that fact that this lady is going to lose a lot of money in legal fees and she has absolutely no case. Her compensation maximum will only be the amount of a Starbucks drinks. They may force Starbucks to honor the coupons but she will never get the money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:21pm

    Just plain stupid.

    Regardless of whatever the coupon is for suing that company for money is just plain asinine. If you think they should be sued you are also an idiot. IT IS A CUP OF FREAKING COFFEE! They did not offer a free 114 million dollars with next purchase!!!!! The peron doing the suing should be put out of their and our misery.
    Boo freaking hoo to everyone who could not redeem their stinking coupon for a free drink. Strap on a pair of stones and maybe actually buy it if you need it that bad. I am sure you could even find the change laying out on te street in front of that crap factory from other fancy named coffee drinking knuckleheaded sheep.

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    • identicon
      Your mom, 11 Sep 2006 @ 10:24pm

      Re: Just plain stupid.

      You do not need to call people names! I agree with the author who said the coupon is a sort of "contract", and unfortunatelly Starbucks overlooked a major detail: restrictions. Yes, may be the lady is over-reacting, but it's going to be on her conscience--not yours.

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  • identicon
    blurby blurb blurb, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:22pm

    Starbucks coupon

    I got this coupon right before the Labor Day holiday weekend. By the time I got to my destination, the drive-thru (bad, I know) Starbucks I went to had a disclaimer posted at the order megaphone so I didn't even bother to ask.

    As a graphic designer, though, I know that a coupon without a disclaimer is just about as good as cash, so Starbucks should just pony up and take them up to a certain date and then learn from it's two mistakes for the future. It's likely they'll lose in court and have to offer some sort of settlement, but that crazy caffeine-deprived mad woman won't get her $114 million. Not even close.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:26pm

    I really hope this person wins, but the judge reduces the award to the price of a grande coffee. I'd love to see the lawyer's face when he realizes he's gonna get 25% of five bucks.

    It punishes idiots that sue over really really stupid stuff and the lawyers the take the cases. Win Win as I see it.

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  • identicon
    pete, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:32pm

    Free coffee

    I read about this last Thursday, downloaded the coupon and brought it to Caribou Coffee, which had agreed to honor them on Friday. I got a delicious free iced latte, and bought a HUGE chocolate chunk cookie. Both were delicious! AND by the great way I was treated, they made a customer out of me. Bye bye, Starbucks!

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  • identicon
    icepick314, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:35pm

    i wish Starbucks lose...

    i know that this is an extreme case of frivoulous lawsuit but i wish Starbucks would lose $114 mil...

    they've gotten way too big and arrogant where they can set up shop anywhere and charge 12 ounce cup of coffee that's more expensive than a gallon of gas which we complain just about every single day...

    Starbucks did something stupid with online coupon and later said it's no good because it got popular...they make enough money where a free $1.25 coffee won't make a dent on the profit if it's done for a few days...

    not EVERYONE goes to Starbucks anyway....

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 7:37pm

    Good thing they turned down the coupon.

    Imagine how big the lawsuit would be when she spilled her free drink on her lap!!

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  • identicon
    Oodles of Noodles, 11 Sep 2006 @ 8:10pm

    Would it make a difference...?

    Just a thought. Would it make any difference, legally speaking, if the woman got it third-hand or fourth-hand? I mean, if Starbuck's offered it to employees and said give it to friends, then if that were posted in the e-mail, will the lady's case crumble if she isn't actually a friend of a Starbuck's employee to whom it was given? I'm no lawyer or anything. Heck, I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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  • identicon
    Michael Vilain, 11 Sep 2006 @ 8:17pm

    What about in other countries?

    The CEO of Starbucks was on PBS or some cable channel talking about how proud he was that his latest store in Saudi Arrabia was just like the one he frequents in New York City, except for the prices and the people hanging out in it. Same sense of buzz, etc.

    What happens when these coupons hit the non-US stores? Don't know the EU restrictions on this sort thing, but Starbucks might be in for a big problem here...

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  • identicon
    Joey, 11 Sep 2006 @ 8:27pm

    written contract?

    Since when is a coupon a legal document? A written contract? Give it a break, huh? A coupon is simply a piece of paper documenting a promotion that a given company is running and can cancel whenever they feel the need. Thats why its called a "coupon" not a "contract." A coupon meant for a few employees that happened to get out on the internet is hardly legally binding. Lets say for a second for the sake of argument that it is - flip over the coupon and pay careful attention to where it says something to the effect of "subject to our terms and conditions" which usually includes the right to deny it or cancel it at any time.

    Point me to the law exactly, that defines "bait and switch" and makes it illegal. It seems you've confused "immoral" with "illegal" - because if your referring to the idea that a company cant represent one thing to hook you in, and then change it completely once they have you on the phone or in the office - I dont know what planet your from because that happens on a regular basis. If you dont believe me, simply watch for your cable company's next ad about all the promotions they're running - then call them up and try to get one and after being on hold for 30 minutes, you probably wont "qualify" - but they will be more than willing to give you the same service at an inflated price. Just because Starbucks isnt masking it as well doesnt change anything.

    I have a marvel idea. How about instead of trying to take other people's money - try making your own. Not only should this lawsuit be thrown out - this women should have to pay starbuck's court and legal fees for wasting everybody's time and tax payers money.

    I dont care if you like Starbucks or not, if you think they're a "bully" company or not, or if your simply an idiot - they're a business, they provide a service and they have the right to do what they please with that service and charge what they want for that service and promote that service however they see fit - just like you have the right, if you dont like it, to go somewhere else.

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    • identicon
      IANAL But Clearly, Neither Are You, 11 Sep 2006 @ 11:54pm

      Re: written contract?

      "Point me to the law exactly, that defines "bait and switch" and makes it illegal. It seems you've confused "immoral" with "illegal" - because if your referring to the idea that a company cant represent one thing to hook you in, and then change it completely once they have you on the phone or in the office - I dont know what planet your from because that happens on a regular basis"

      From the US FTC: "No advertisement containing an offer to sell a product should be published when the offer is not a bona fide effort to sell the advertised product. [Guide 1]"

      And the definition from the FTC: "Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell. Its purpose is to switch consumers from buying the advertised merchandise, in order to sell something else, usually at a higher price or on a basis more advantageous to the advertiser. The primary aim of a bait advertisement is to obtain leads as to persons interested in buying merchandise of the type so advertised."

      You can read the entire guide if you like: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/baitads-gd.htm

      Don't slip on your soap box.

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    • identicon
      Dosquatch, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:47am

      Re: written contract?

      Point me to the law exactly, that defines "bait and switch" and makes it illegal.

      What, we have to do your research for you? Lazy, lazy, lazy.

      I won't do your research for you, but I'll be happy to give you a nudge in the right direction. The phrases you may wish to pass through Google are "false advertising", "unfair and deceptive commerce", "FTC Act", and "Lanham Act".

      A book report is due by the end of the day.

      because if your referring to the idea that a company cant represent one thing to hook you in, and then change it completely once they have you on the phone or in the office - I dont know what planet your from because that happens on a regular basis.

      Too true. However, just because businesses regularly get away with this does not make it a legal practice. If we could be bothered to be more vigilent as consumers and hold their feet to the fire... but, nah. That's almost like effort.

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  • identicon
    Missing, 11 Sep 2006 @ 8:39pm

    Starbucks is crap.

    I regularly turn down the Starbucks brand. I would not drink it for free or if you were giving me $50 a cup... my body is sensitive to many chemicals- though not terribly sensitive to caffeine. Starbucks coffee hits me like a line of meth, with a few mini-thins thrown in for flavor. I get shaky and can't see straight,--- I can slam several red-bulls and not get this reaction. I swear they doctor the coffee like the tobacco companies doctor their product so it hits you harder and faster.

    Want proof? try drinking 1 cup of coffee and take 2 Vivarin pills one morning, and then drink a cup of Starbucks the next and notice the difference in your sweat and urine smells throughout the day--- you can smell the Starbucks leaving your system.


    oh and back to the topic: I say let them get sued, and lose, frivolous as it may be, she was offered a free cup of crap and by god don't deprive her of it.

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    • identicon
      Reynolds J. Wrap, 11 Sep 2006 @ 9:29pm

      Re: Starbucks is crap.

      I'm assuming that you will also start having some sensitivity to the aluminum foil hat that you've been wearing.

      Try lining it with felt. Protects you from CIA brain readers the same, but is much more comfortable.

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  • identicon
    gary, 11 Sep 2006 @ 8:45pm

    as a barista myself, i think the lawsuit is extremely ridiculous. i actually dont think that much of starbucks, and dont even like coffee. but the bills need-a-paying, and its good money. the fine print at the bottom actually says "at participating stores", so even if the coupon was valid for anyone in the first place, any store could deny it if they wanted to.

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  • identicon
    Starbucks coffee is weak!, 11 Sep 2006 @ 8:52pm

    moron.

    Starbucks coffee is nothing special, but cmon it is anything but strong. The coffee the drink in Europe is all much stronger than the crap they serve here in the US anyways. Stop being a pansy.

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    • identicon
      Megaman, 12 Sep 2006 @ 3:40am

      Re: moron.

      You sir are a douchebag. In Europe, most of the coffee are not brewed as drip like ours. They're more of a...ESPRESSO shot.

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  • identicon
    suem down, 11 Sep 2006 @ 9:29pm

    i dont understand the people getting mad, "don't sue them that's so stupid, youre an idiot and deserve a kick in the ass" they have a ridiculous amount of money for basically nothing, if starbucks was a good corporation i could understand, but they are not,

    to me its like defending exxon or something, who gives a shit, they are dirty rat bastards, 114 million is nothing, yea the lady and lawyer are being greedy, but at the same time if you want a big corporation to learn any lessons, they need to have someone get their attention, and a couple of thousand dollars, isnt going to turn anyones head at starbucks

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 9:38pm

    This is hardly a "frivoulous" lawsuit. I feel is is very VERY important to keep coorporations in line in this way. Starbucks needs to be held accountable for their choices, and civil lawsuit is the appropriate venue. Should we not sue over things like this, coorporations will be allowed to back out of promises, perhaps now it's a (accidental) cup of coffee - though in the future it might be something more substantial ... and from there, it is entirely plausable that blaitent unfair or untruthful behavior, far worse than what we are seeing today, will become a typical part of marketting - perhaps to the point of down-right theft.

    Rediculous on the other hand ... deffinitely. There is no way that a cup of coffee is worth $114M, and I have no doubd she is only interested in a phat settlement. Though, if they do settle (and the case is golden) then Starbucks is in a very tough spot because then anyone who has the internet will print the coupon as a ticket to print money. And because nothing ever dies on the weenernet, Starbucks better find a way to win this case - otherwise they've got a long haul to fight.

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  • identicon
    James Salem, 11 Sep 2006 @ 9:41pm

    Starbucks Coupons

    Lets face it, its all about the money: Starbucks greed backfired...lawsuit greedy peaople and fee- hungry lawyers.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Sep 2006 @ 9:44pm

    I still got my 6 free drinks...

    *$'s screwed up, but like the barista said it had "at participating stores" on the coupon. The person suing will loose, but I also think *$'s should counter sue (for what I don't know - defamation of character?) and ruin that person's (and that scum-sucking lawyer) life for such a dumb ass lawsuit. Sue, sue, sue, sue....

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  • identicon
    Riiight, 11 Sep 2006 @ 10:00pm

    You're Not Special

    You know, you can church it up all you want by calling yourself a "barista", but in reality you're just a clerk. Yep, no better than a 7/11 stooge.

    Just thought I'd clarify.

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  • identicon
    WCSTANTON DOTCOM, 11 Sep 2006 @ 10:39pm

    It's a coupon! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

    So lets think here, Starbucks trys to give out a coupon to baristas and people linked to them. That alone is a nice gesture. Starbucks is not required to give away free product or free anything. Most coupons state that they can be revoked by a given entity. But NO NO, we have to say "LOOK AT THE EVIL AND GREEDY CORPORATION" They can't pay for Tiny Tim's crutches!!! Coffee is a damned luxuary, it is not important for survival (except for us computer types -though we have the money to pay for it) STARBUCKS PROVIDES A QUALITY PRODUCT.... if you disagree... tell me how they own a storefront on just about every other commercial corner? SECOND THEY PROVIDE JOBS FOR MANY WHO WANT THEM. YOU ARE NOT FORCED TO WORK AT STARBUCKS NOR ARE YOU FORCED TO DRINK THEIR COFFEE.
    This is like saying I am going to sue Wal-Mart because my hamburger went bad before the expiration date.

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    • identicon
      WCSTANTON DOTCOM, 11 Sep 2006 @ 10:54pm

      Re: It's a coupon! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

      Starbucks should hand the woman 2 cups of coffee at the witness stand, 1 for the coupon, 1 for the wasted time... each one should have a "the way I see it" quote from the CEOs talking about Frivo. Lawsuits. Now that would be funny. but 114Million Dollars? That punishes each one of us starbucks drinkers... because if this woman wins, we will end up paying for it, and I don't blame starbucks for passing the bill to us, heck they were happy to give us coupons in the first place. IF YOU THINK THAT YOU WILL "PUNISH THE RICH" by doing this you need to do a little bit of economic history, employees will pay for it if she wins, as will every customer that goes there... IF YOU DON'T LIKE STARBUCKS... DON'T BUY THEIR PRODUCT. I count at least 10 coffee companies in our town of 150K. I know starbucks doesn't open up in tiny towns. So stop crying about coffee, and go watch your michael moore movie again.

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      • identicon
        Dosquatch, 12 Sep 2006 @ 7:58am

        Re: Re: It's a coupon! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

        IF YOU THINK THAT YOU WILL "PUNISH THE RICH" by doing this you need to do a little bit of economic history, employees will pay for it if she wins, as will every customer that goes there...

        Oh, yeah, you can really spot welfare check day at the local Starbucks. Raising the prices is just going to punish the poor, ain't it?

        What economic bracket do you figure the $6/cup coffee crowd is in, anyway? I can afford to go to Starbucks, but I refuse. It's overpriced swill. I brew my own, thankyouverymuch, and both tastes better and costs less.

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        • identicon
          Celes, 12 Sep 2006 @ 6:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: It's a coupon! FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!

          ...and about the employees?

          While it's true that most lower-income individuals don't frequent Starbucks, I think WCSTANTON DOTCOM has a point about the employees. When other expenses go up, wages can be cut, or workers can be laid off. My company always tells its managers that the most controllable cost is labor. Starbucks sure doesn't want to see its profit margins dwindle, so if the lawsuit creates an expense that does hurt the company, it won't be surprising to see the company cut its labor costs to make up for it.

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  • identicon
    Bleh., 11 Sep 2006 @ 11:30pm

    I'm a, YES, BARISTA.

    You dont understand how annoying it is when people demand frappucinos for those coupons. its ONE ICED GRANDE drink. But anyway, people come in EVERYSINGLE DAY with like 6 of them and ... well... starbucks was losing money, lets put it that way.

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  • identicon
    gary, 11 Sep 2006 @ 11:47pm

    re:you're not special

    the only difference between me and say, baristas in italy, is that their coffee comes from their back yard. sure, starbucks can fancify up any coffee description, or postion, but you did the same thing! another word for "store clerk"? slave.

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  • identicon
    Photoshop, 12 Sep 2006 @ 1:08am

    Fake coupons

    Any fool with 'The GIMP' or 'Photoshop' can rip logos of company sites and make fake looking coupons... like this person will win. I'm sorry but as far as I see if they can sue it is only for the cost of one item being the coffee - as if they can sue for over a million.

    Latest strategy in the US seems to be sue and you don't have to work for the rest of your life.

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  • identicon
    David, 12 Sep 2006 @ 3:15am

    Whatever happened to the right of comapnies being able to redact any coupon they want?

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  • identicon
    mark, 12 Sep 2006 @ 3:21am

    Only a gittery caffeine addict in need of her fix would conjure up a lawsuit like that...for a cup of lousy Starbucks yet.

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  • identicon
    Judge Mental, 12 Sep 2006 @ 4:54am

    I once visited Burger King who's motto in England is "Have it your way" I asked for a meal separatly as in "Burger and a coke and some fries" Which was then keyed into the till. I then saw it would be cheaper to buy as a set meal. After asking for the order to be cancelled was told that it was to late. After saying Iwas not paying was told to "Fuck off"
    I should have sued them for a 100 million and another 100 million for wasting my time.
    Probably would have won in America. Here I got $30 in vouchers.

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  • identicon
    bignumone, 12 Sep 2006 @ 5:56am

    They should just take their lumps...one or two?

    Hey, they released the coupons with-out thought. If it were a bogus coupon, I say deny it. But this was a real coupon.
    Should they be punished legally? Maybe for a few dozen servings of coffee. But millions of $$s?
    No way!
    Really, how would it benefit them to defraud consumers in this manner?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Br├╝ggemann, 12 Sep 2006 @ 6:33am

    114 million

    Yeah that is gonna be great. The court is gonna let her win and give her 114 million $ in Starbucks Coffee. lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stewy, 12 Sep 2006 @ 6:59am

    Bait & Switch

    This is a typical case of bait & switch. The lawsuite is okay in my book. Oh, so they are okay with sending around a coupon to get people into their stores, and who hopefully buy something, but they won't take the coupon? Read a little bit about advertising law, and you will see that this is a big no no what Starbucks is doing here. So unless the coupon says, valid only at participating stores, they need to honor it.
    As a kid I was working a part time job at a local grocery store, and one day we threw a little all-day-long bbq for our customers that we also advertised in the local newspaper. Halfway thru the day we ran out of meat, so I asked my boss if we should just close down the bbq. He said, hell no, we advertised it as an all day thing, if we close now it would be misleading advertising to get people into the store. So we had to get more and keep it going until the end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    The Original JustMe, 12 Sep 2006 @ 7:16am

    Coupons

    Actually, IIRC, IMHO, IANAL, I thought that coupons weren't even worth the paper they are printed on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 12 Sep 2006 @ 7:27am

    I know!

    She wanted to sue for just the free coffee but her lawyers told her to sue for more "damages" right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jody, 12 Sep 2006 @ 7:56am

    starbucks coupon

    There should be some sort of action, I am glad. They werent even nice about it, my regular location in Owattona Mn was very nice but the locations in Eagan Mn & Woodbury Mn were actually RUDE about it. Good for Caribou for honoring Starbucks coupon :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 12 Sep 2006 @ 8:09am

    I just don't get it...

    How in the hell can anyone juststify paying nearly $4 for a cup of coffee? I don't drink coffee that much (like 5 cups a year) but damn. I love milkshakes but I refuse pay $4-6 dollars for a milkshake at Coldstone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Sep 2006 @ 9:53am

    a few things....

    doesn't starbucks give all it's employess healthcare coverage? didn't that stem from the owner's dad getting hurt on a job and not having insurance? so, in order to pay for the insurance, the coffee is more expensive.

    second, panera, or any local coffee shop....the coffee is the same price. regular coffee's from starbucks are around 2 bucks. if you want the fancy fufu drinks, that'll cost you, but just the same as everywhere else.

    next, i remember a t.d. article about google cupons, and people sying that the cupons aren't worth anything. but i guess this one is?

    now that the cupon is on the "market" how will starbucks honor the cupon? they can't claim to not honor it, because it didn't have an exp date. if they say they won't...it's so called bait and switch. companies have the right to do so. this wasn't some...give me more money scheme, it's just a promotion that got out of hand. so, in order to protect themselves, they have to cut the offer. remember subway's ticket/stamp program. 1 stamp for every 6" or sald you bought. the stopped that a few years back. they said, listen we know we've had this for some time, but we are stopping. stamps won't be distributed after date1. the stamp books won't be accecpetd after date2. I'm sure that there were people missing one stamp, or came in the day after and were told no.

    I was a barista at mcdonalds for sometime. (boy that sounds stupid) and we had people come in with halloween cupons in mid july, or stuff from BK (really retarded) and we refused. no one got all legal on us. ohwell

    is the lawsuit a good one? maybe. it's sure not worth 114mill. what does that entail? 114 for pain and suffereing? she had a caffine withdrawl? not worth 114, she coulda bought a can of pop from walmart for a quarter.

    now it is true that business should be held accountable for their actions, we don't want them getting careless. i doubt starbucks is careless. I make good money, but i don't drink starbucks. It's not that it's expensive or whatnot, i just don't like coffee. plus, if i ever get the urge for it, there are planty of local places with free refils and such. so....that's that.

    cupon worth 114mill. i thought it was more like 1/20th of a cent

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    The Chad, 12 Sep 2006 @ 9:53am

    Idiots...

    You really cant be serious trying to justify the lawsuit with these silly FTC snippets?

    From the US FTC: "No advertisement containing an offer to sell a product should be published when the offer is not a bona fide effort to sell the advertised product. [Guide 1]"

    1. It was a "bona fide effort" since the stores were all honoring the promo till it got out of hand.
    2. Not that this really applies anyway since it was an offer to give away something and not sell it.

    And the definition from the FTC: "Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell. Its purpose is to switch consumers from buying the advertised merchandise, in order to sell something else, usually at a higher price or on a basis more advantageous to the advertiser. The primary aim of a bait advertisement is to obtain leads as to persons interested in buying merchandise of the type so advertised."

    ...a free coupon that they stopped honoring has nothing to do with selling anything since they were giving it away, if you buy in to the bait and switch comments your just an idiot plain and simple. A company trying to do a good will promo to its employees got a bit out of hand and they decided to discontinue honoring the coupon. What's all the fuss about?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Maximus, 12 Sep 2006 @ 10:13am

    Easy. The judge should award the "damages", but tell Starbucks that instead of paying the plaintiff they have spend it in redeeming as many coupons as they can (only one per serving and all that). Once it runs out, the coupon is declared invalid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Maximus, 12 Sep 2006 @ 10:14am

    On another note, when it says that my comment "will appear momentarily" do they mean that it will appear just for a little while and then disappear?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sanguine Dream, 12 Sep 2006 @ 10:39am

    Bait and switch...?

    Bait and switch would mean that they got you to spend money. If this coupon wasn't accepted you could just walk away and get your coffee elsewhere. It's not like it was buy one get on free. If it was then I'd understand her wanting to take action but not for that much. Imagine how pissed she (and her lawyers) would be if the judge decided in her favor but only awarded her a free cup of coffee.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joey, 13 Sep 2006 @ 7:47am

    RE RE: Written Contract?? Bait and switch??

    Pasting irrelovent, out of context definitions from the FTC really does no good. None of what was pasted from the FTC applies here.

    I've read the same FTC crap you have. #54 described why it isnt illegal as referred to in this case so I dont have to. What I was looking for, instead of irrelovent and out of context scraps from the FTC was more an example of where the illegality of this actually manifested and a company doing it actually suffered consequences. That doesnt exist either. (Of course, I mean as THIS CASE dictates.)

    Bait and switch is the attempt to SELL something and either selling it and switching it, or making it unavailable and switching it with a more expensive product that is. That doesnt apply here - and this almost never applies in the real world because there are so many "work arounds." I'd think you would have gotten that from actually reading what you were pasting. I mean come on - you really buy that crap in pastes from the FTC? Even aside from this case - exactly what as defined as "unfair" and "should not" happens every day a million times over. I may have used a poor choice of words at the beginning of that paragraph but it far from negates the point. Refer to the rest of the post.

    Its amazingly easy for companies to get around "false advertising" and "bait and switch laws" - but you know what? Starbucks isnt getting around anything because they did nothing wrong.

    Bottom line, if I say I'm going to give you something for free and then change my mind - you have nothing to say about it - and calling it bait and switch is just plain idiotic.

    Oh, and you dont have to worry about me slipping. As long as people lack common sense, it wont be a problem.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joey, 13 Sep 2006 @ 7:57am

    RE RE: written contract

    "What, we have to do your research for you? Lazy, lazy, lazy."

    Dont you hate when people make or defend a claim and when you disagree they tell you to do the research? You made the claim, its your job to proove it, not mine. Maybe if you would have tried to do that, it might have become obvious that bait and switch doesnt apply here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    no way, 13 Sep 2006 @ 8:37am

    no.

    no. end of argument.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Judge Mental, 14 Sep 2006 @ 3:20am

    It is an obsolute dicrace that they did not accept the coupon. Many people will be denied a free drink. The person was right to sue, an example should be made.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 14 Sep 2006 @ 6:28am

    Ok ...

    As a related note this wouldn't happen in the UK. Our law states that advertisements are invitations to treat and do not HAVE to be honoured. However it is against the law to deliberately mislead customers.

    According to Wikipedia this applies in the US as well?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invitation_to_treat

    So the offer was made not to mislead people. It got out of hand and was so withdrawn. Hence the case is pointless.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ramon Silva, 15 Sep 2006 @ 8:59am

    get off it!!

    Seriously people its just a fuckin frap. get off it. i mean what does it cost like four dollers. just pay for it. thats whats wrong with america these days everyone wants everything free. starbucks cant be affording to pay for all of your drinks cause you dont want to loose four dollers. Its not like they had to give you coupons anyways. The people that got it should be happy and the ones who didn't just pay for it. Im not trying to be mean but its not that big of a deal, at least not a 114 million doller deal. Who evers suing starbucks is just trying to get one of those get rich quick things. I mean starbucks started small once also. they weren't allways rich. and shes just trying to take money they earned because she wont pay four dollers get serious. thats insane. i mean give me her adress i'll send her the money for a frap. if she cant afford it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jessica Allegrini, 15 Sep 2006 @ 8:06pm

    other countries are right when they put down the U

    What a great country we live in....one where we think it is perfectly acceptable to sue over every little thing. Oh, geesh, I didn't buy two boxes of Cheerios, so this $.20 coupon won't work. Let me sue General Mills for distress and disappointment at the cash register, raise prices for every other consumer, and make every ones life miserable. What, my Price Chopper card doesn't work at a Piggly Wiggly? That's it... $20 million dollar lawsuit. People will sue over everything because it is their freedom which they abuse freely on a daily basis. Just like those people who sue the tobacco companies for having lung cancer. Sometimes I think those third world countries are right for having no freedoms. Less for people to abuse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Teddy, 19 Sep 2006 @ 12:59pm

    RIDICULOUS!

    the case itself has no means. cry me a river over some coupon. can you NOT afford a $1.75 grande brewed coffee? if you can't then go make it yourself from the grocery stores down the street.

    why is someone being so stupid to sue the number #1 coffee chain in the world? why? how stupid can you be. we're not McDonalds we're STARBUCKS!!

    quit your bitching about coupons. can't you afford a cup of coffee btw?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Sep 2006 @ 9:51am

    Ok, while it is nice that everyone complains about this lady's lawsuit and says how cheap she is there are several other factors that people should consider.
    1) It offered a free cup of coffee for a month. If a cup of coffee is $4 then that is $120 a person assuming they would claim it every day (and the coupon did not specify that you could only use it once. If 10 people were denied that is $1,200, if it was 1,000 that is already $120,000.
    2) Starbucks is assuming that they will increase their business by having people go there and once their coupon is denied, people will buy their coffie otherwise. This is absurd. It is also illegal.
    3) Starbucks assumed the risk when they gave out the coupons. Stop feeling bad for Starbucks, and stop complaining. Go to law school or read a book before you all talk out of your ass again.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    duh, 29 Sep 2006 @ 7:36am

    Ur a barista and I'm an Earl.. er, make that a Duke. Maybe a Lord....
    Starbucks coffee blows, they are only good for selling their crappy coffee coupons on the bay and making money. I love coffee, spent 6 years in Spain and italy, a year in the carribean and wouldnt spend a dime at strabucks !!! I get free coupons for them all the freaking time and never, ever use them to buy their over priced swill! I sell em on fleabay

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eddie Berry, 25 Jul 2012 @ 5:06pm

    dumbest shit i ever read

    i got here by asking google if gastations could turn down cigg. coupons and seen some shit about 114 million dollar lawsuit for not getting a free drink omg a grande cost under five dollars here in peoria ill. so im leaning towards the lady is to lazy to work and sees it as a get rich quick opportunity like wtf you fat hoe stop crying because your obease and was denied a free drink i doubt your gonna die from dehydration o wait you didnt cause your sueing them now well nice to know how lazy people are today she needs to be slapped by another woman preferably a ex con dike lookin bitch

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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