Starbucks' Free Grande Coupons Turn Into Grande Lawsuit

Dennis Faas's picture

The coffee powerhouse Starbucks was recently slapped with a $114 million lawsuit after they pulled their e-mail-based free drink offer.

Starbucks sent out an e-mail on August 23rd to select employees offering the coupon and requesting that they forward it to their families and friends. The coupon offered a free Grande drink, valid until September 30th. (Source:

Not surprisingly, the forwarded coupons multiplied. Shortly after, Starbucks rescinded the offer when "it had been redistributed beyond its original intent." (Source:

The lawsuit was initiated after a customer in New York was refused her free drink. The woman approached a lawyer and soon after, the lawsuit was filed.

The lawyer, Mr. Peter Sullivan, wants to apply for class-action status for the lawsuit. He also asserts that the company's explanation for the pulled offer does not hold water: "The excuse proffered by Starbucks, that they did not believe that an offer released over the Internet would be so widely distributed, is ridiculous." (Source:

The $114 million represents the estimated number of people who were denied their free drink. (Source:

Although it is difficult to believe that a sophisticated corporation would not expect a coupon sent via the Internet to multiply so dramatically -- particularly after they requested it be forwarded to family and friends -- the $114 million lawsuit for a cancelled coupon does indeed seem a bit extreme.

Only time will tell whether or not this lawsuit will hold up. In the interim, we can only hope that perhaps the cancelled coupons will shorten the wait for a nice Venti Caramel Macchiato. ;-)

Rate this article: 
No votes yet