June 13, 2009

Perhaps They Should Have Tested More - Starbucks

For a couple of days in May, coffee giant Starbucks ended up double charging about 1 million of their U.S. and Canadian customers.
  • More than 1 million transactions at 7,000 Starbucks locations on May 22 and May 23 were double billed
  • The one-million Starbuck transactions involved both credit and debit cards
  • The POS charges—and the receipts given to customers—were perfectly in order. The problems kicked in hours later, in the settlement processing area
  • Starbucks has declined to say how the glitch happened
  • Starbucks has declined to say how they plan to prevent it from happening again
  • Starbucks says they've had some customers call whose accounts were not fixed
  • Any customers with questions should contact the company's customer relations hotline at 1-800-23-LATTE.
Starbucks spokeswoman Trina Smith didn't seem to think the double charges were a big deal, just a minor confusion:
"We sincerely apologize to customers who were confused,". But, she adds, in a world of digital transactions, "Consumers are accustomed to these kinds of things."
Others disagree, and think the Starbucks image may have been tarnished by the error:
Starbucks patrons pay more not just for a better product, but for a perception that it treats consumers better, says Bradford Hudson, assistant marketing professor at Boston University. "You expect a company like Starbucks to do everything flawlessly, or to do something extra special to recover." He says it could have given a free drink to all affected.
Perhaps they should have tested more.

Just wondering - On the Starbucks Annual Report, will this screwup be categorized as a "Short" bug?  A "Tall" or "Grande" bug?  Or is it actually a "Venti" bug?

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