Starbucks has agreed to a $225,000 statewide settlement after the financial crimes prosecutor at the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office found that the coffee giant wasn’t reimbursing customers who wanted back money they had left on their gift cards.
Deputy District Attorney Erin Dervin said today that she was on vacation in April 2008 in Sonoma County when she and an aunt went into a neighborhood Starbucks store.
Her aunt, who wasn’t a coffee drinker, had a gift card with $6 left. She asked for the cash back, but the clerk said she couldn’t refund cash left on a card even after she was reminded of a state law had gone into effect in January, Dervin said.
“She said, ‘Sorry, there isn’t a button for that,’” Dervin said.
The law mandates businesses refund customers who have less than $10 remaining on their gift cards. State lawmakers passed the bill after consumers complained that they couldn’t redeem small amounts left on gift cards without making major purchases.