retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Two weeks after Starbucks was slapped down by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation, which fined the company for charging a hidden $1.50 fee for fresh ground bags of coffee beans weighing less than a pound, a California woman is suing the retailer over the charges - and her attorneys are seeking class action certification.

If Starbucks were to lose the case, it could cost the company a lot more money than the $1,575 in fines that it was assessed by Massachusetts.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, “Customers were not given notice of such a fee prior to purchasing such bags of coffee, nor were they given notice after their purchase on their receipt,” the woman’s attorneys told the court. “It was a completely undisclosed fee that unsuspecting customers were paying at stores around the country.”

Starbucks has said that the fee covered extra labor expenses, but it eliminated the surcharge all over the country once the Massachusetts case came to light.
KC's View:
Businesses all over the world ought to adopt a simple, inarguable policy today. And here is what it ought to say:

If there is anything we do that could, under any circumstances, be described by using the adjective “hidden,” we must stop doing it immediately.

Because transparency in the global information age means that nothing you do is going to remain hidden for very long.