Who reads the terms of service on gift cards? Maybe not everyone, but four consumer advocacy groups have your back and are petitioning Starbucks to remove certain provisions in time for the holiday season.
Starbucks has been requiring customers to give up their legal rights when they use those prepaid cards, Public Citizen, Alliance for Justice, National Association of Consumer Advocates and National Consumers League claim in a letter to the coffee giants.
Written into the terms of service that you might not ever read are a ban on class action lawsuits and a forced arbitration clause. The groups claim those terms limit consumer access to the courts, as any legal disputes are resolved by arbitrators instead of an impartial judge or jury.
Banning consumers from taking part in a class-action suit would mean that if you had a problem with say, a hidden fee on the card, you’d have to go it alone in the courts against Starbucks, instead of banding together with fellow disgruntled customers.
“Starbucks, which has held itself up as an upstanding corporate citizen, should set an example and remove this language because it preys on consumers’ rights,” said Christine Hines, consumer and civil justice counsel with Public Citizen in a letter from the four groups.