Starbucks Stole My Money!

I thought that this was a good company, they hire and treat their employees really well. They really know how to treat customers too, they have outstanding customer service and a very consistent product. So, why did they close my account and take my money?

Lets start with how my account was setup. I had setup my account to automatically reload on my phone from my credit card and didn't think too much of it. I assumed that my account would always just be there when I was ready to use it, and I used to use it fairly frequently. Well, this weekend I went to go and get my free birthday coffee... but I wasn't able to log into my account. I thought that maybe I forgot my password or something, but when I tried to recover that, they did not recognize my email address. Huh? 

I know my account had not been very active after starting a new job, there are no Starbucks within a couple miles of my employer. I had been frequenting another shop that was within walking distance instead.

I googled about cancelled accounts for Starbucks and got a lot of hits. There were stories from online magazines and lots of other posts of people trying to figure out what to do... I decided to call customer service and they confirmed that they did delete account and that I would have gotten an email. Before I called I had tried opening another account using the same info I had before to see if anything would be reinstated, but nothing was... So while I was on the phone I asked the customer service person about putting my account back to Gold status, she did, then I asked about my auto-reload and where that money went. She had no answer for that... She said I would need to get the account number to regain those funds. Wow, really... its up to me to get proof of that money? She asked if I had the original gift/credit card that I used to setup the account on my phone. Of course I didn't have it, why would I keep that since all my info was in my account? If I had received an email, I likely deleted it as spam or advertising so now what? 

When I got home, I got on my email account and searched for emails from Starbucks and I did still have some, one of them was this email that the service person talked about. And look at that, it showed that there was $21.92 in my account at the time they sent that email. How interesting, so they knew that I had money in my account and that it auto reloaded but decided to chancel it anyway? 

Wow, that's nice... then I started to think, I wondered how many others were out there like me? Say that there was a million people like me, that means that Starbucks could have stolen millions of dollars from people. Imagine that those people did not still have their email or card to prove the funds that they had. There is NO recourse, and Starbucks just takes the money. How nice for them!

I copied the account number that was in the email they had sent me and sent an email requesting that they send me back my money...

Hi Starbucks, 
Thank you for deleting my account I really appreciate the hassle.  
Above is my account number. 
I would like my money back, you owe me $21.92, according to the email you sent me when you canceled my account. I would like a check for that amount, I don't want a credit... you lost my trust when you deleted my account so I just want my money back. I haven't decided if I'll continue to be a customer, but if I am I will be paying with my own payment method from now on.
I hope you got a nice big pay day when you deleted everyone's accounts like that, because very likely many of them will not return.  
John Kerher 

They replied very quickly asking me to call them...

Hello John,
Thank you for contacting Starbucks. I just finished reading your email and appreciate you taking the time to share your concerns with us. 
I am so very sorry to hear about your account.  I can understand your frustration.  In order to best assist you, we would like the opportunity to speak with you over the phone. 
Please call our customer contact center and have reference # xxxxxx35 handy to provide to our representative.  Our contact center can be reached at 877-309-3180 Monday-Friday 5am-8pm, as well as Saturday-Sunday 6am-4pm (PST). 
If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at customerservice.starbucks.com. 
Evelean C. 
customer service 

I replied back...

I opened a new account this morning, while standing outside Starbucks, I did not end up getting a coffee after spending 20-30 minutes screwing around with my account. I had talked to a representative that pushed my status back up to Gold. I gave her my address on the phone so I know you have my address. I really don't want to call you and spend more time on the phone or even write this email. You guys caused this hassle and now I pay for it with my time.  

Please send a check to me at the address I provided (57 Lindale LN SW, Lakewood, WA, 98499) for the $21.92 that was on my account at the time you closed it and deleted my original account.  
If I purchase coffee from your stores, I NEVER again plan to use your pre-paid auto reload system, and I DO NOT want a credit to my account, so I see no reason to talk with you. 
If you want to talk to me, you have my phone number on file now too, but I do not feel like jumping through your hoops at this time.  
You know, I am very annoyed at the decision of the leadership at Starbucks to close and cancel people's accounts like this. You had to know that you were holding money on my account when you canceled it. As an IT professional, I know that it takes an extremely small amount of space to hold some account info in a database. As a message to the leadership, if I had not kept this email, I would not know how much money you had taken from me and so would not have any recourse to take any action. There has to be thousands if not millions of account like mine in my situation. Basically, I see this as being at worst blatant stealing and at best extremely negligent and I don't think that it's OK for big rich corporations like you to take money from their customers to deal with account inactivity... it's simply unacceptable.

They replied and said that they would send me a check...

Hello John,
Thanks for writing back.
I have requested a refund check in the amount of $21.92 for you today. Please allow up to 30 days for it to arrive. Once again, my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. 
If you ever have any questions or concerns in the future, please visit us at customerservice.starbucks.com. Sincerely,

Amanda H.
customer service 

After doing some digging, it sounds like the reason for deleting all these accounts was because they could not prove that any of their customers accounts were held by people that were over the age of 13. After opening my new account, they still don't know my age, only my birthday, minus the year I was born. So, it all seems pretty shady to me. It seems more likely to me that they saw some inactive accounts sitting on a bunch of cash, so they proceeded to cancel and delete accounts to get a hold of those funds.

I still feel like this was a bad decision by the executives at Starbucks, and I don't know if I will visit Starbucks again in the near future, it's likely that I will eventually if there are no other coffee shops around, but to be honest... if there is another coffee shop nearby, I will probably go there instead.

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