The lawsuit was filed on Friday in New York City by attorney Peter Sullivan, who is suing Starbucks for fraud on behalf of a 23-year-old customer who apparently felt "betrayed" by the defunct offer for a free drink. The lawsuit seeks $114 million and angles for class action status on behalf of potential customers who were angered by the pulled promotion.
I've already noted my disappointment in Starbucks' misstep, which might give its rivals an advantage. For example, Caribou
As both a shareholder and a customer, I think Starbucks made a dumb move by offering the coupon only to rescind it. But a lawsuit over lost drinks worth a couple dollars apiece just gives lawyers and lawsuits a bad name.
And isn't "betrayed" a ridiculous way to describe losing out on a free beverage? Bummed out? Sure. But betrayed? According to Merriam-Webster, to betray means "to lead astray," "to deliver to an enemy by treachery," or "to fail or desert especially in a time of need." Let's get real.
Of course, as long as Starbucks has its reputation as a success story and a leader in its industry, it's vulnerable to increased scrutiny. Sometimes, it seems such scrutiny is bound to spiral into the depths of opportunistic silliness.
For more recent word on Starbucks, see the following Foolish content:
- Caribou tried to take advantage of Starbucks' canceled coupon.
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- Starbucks' latest quarter was perceived as a bitter brew by some investors.