Martine Powers of the Boston Globe reports that Starbucks was adding about $1.50 to the price of bags of coffee beans weighing less than a pound, never posting the addition to the price.
The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation discovered the practice in late August and fined five Starbucks locations with $1,575 for overcharge violations two weeks ago.
Last week, Starbucks nixed the $1.50 fee – and not just in Massachusetts. Pressure from the state’s consumer agency spurred the company to eliminate the extra charge nationwide.
“It’s a message to the whole marketplace,’’ Barbara Anthony, undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs, said in a phone interview yesterday. “We have to be able to trust that the price we’re paying is the price we should be paying for a particular commodity.’’
When a customer ordered a bag of coffee beans weighing less than 1 pound, Starbucks tacked on about $1.50 to the price without putting up signs about the fee in the store or itemizing the extra charge on receipts.
For example, beans listed at $11.95 per pound ended up costing $7.45 for a half-pound – not $5.98, or 50 percent of the price.
Read More: The Boston Globe