Starbucks Reconsiders $1.50 Bean Fee After Being Fined By Massachusetts
Starbucks discontinued its $1.50 surcharge for bags of beans weighing less than a pound nationwide, after the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation fined them for it.
The state consumer group discovered that Starbucks wasn’t properly notifying customers that it was tacking on a fee of about $1.50 for bags of beans that weighed less than a pound. So, if a customer bought a half-pound of beans at a cost of $11.95 per pound, they would actually pay $7.45 for the bag, instead of $5.98, which would be half the per pound price.
Massachusetts law requires that stores post signs informing customers of surcharges, or at least instruct employees tell customers about additional fees at the time of purchase. The group’s investigation found that Starbucks’ bean fee wasn’t even reflected on receipts.
The law states "any retailer, is allowed to charge any additional fees it wants on a product, those additional fees have to be clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the consumer before the purchase.”
The company claims the surcharge was intended to cover the cost of “the additional labor and packaging needed to accommodate those customers’ unique request.” It's unknown how long Starbucks has been charging the fee.
The state fined Starbucks $1,575 for violations at five stores. The agreement to drop the surcharge is not a legal settlement and that the state is in talks with Starbucks about how to compensate customers.
[Associated Press via The Huffington Post]