Starbucks Busted For Hidden Fee On Bagged Coffee

See that bag of coffee grounds at Starbucks that’s listed at $12/pound? Well, if you buy less than a pound, there’s a fee of $1.50 that isn’t mentioned anywhere in the store and doesn’t show up as a fee on the receipt. But now, after being busted by authorities in Massachusetts, the java giant has decided to stop charging the fee.

So basically, if you bought a half pound of the coffee, you wouldn’t be charged $6, but $7.50, and that fee would not be broken out as a separate cost.

Explains the chief of the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation to the Boston Globe:

While Starbucks, and 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.

It was estimated that Starbucks charged this fee to around 75,000 people in Massachusetts alone, so the company got off easy with only a $1,575 fine. Regardless, it has opted to stop charging the fee, which it said was to cover extra labor and packaging costs.

Starbucks fined for hidden fee on coffee [Boston.com]

Starbucks drops surcharge on coffee beans after Mass. fine [USA Today]

” Consumer Affairs chief Barbara Anthony said. “We are pleased that Starbucks has decided to drop this fee, ending any confusion for consumers buying coffee in their stores.”