It can be easy to put a decimal point or comma in the wrong place, particularly when flustered. But, as with most issues having to deal with money, paying attention is always a good idea. Such is what one Oklahoma family learned after a venti-sized slip up at a Starbucks stop.
Specifically, an Oklahoma man named Jesse O’Dell was forced by financial circumstances to cancel a family trip after a tipping error at Starbucks cost him nearly $5000 when all he got were a couple of cups of coffee. Apparently, Mr. O’Dell thought he had spent on $12 for the cups of coffee, a normal amount for Starbucks. However, was shocked to see a massive, $4,456.27 charge when he checked his bank statement after his wife’s credit card was declined while she shopped for clothes for the trip.
Speaking about the matter to the Kansas City Star, Mr. O’Dell said “I felt disbelief. I don’t have that kind of money sitting around to just play with.”
He insisted that the tipping error was not his fault and that he hit the right button, saying “I know how to press buttons. I didn’t press that button. If it wasn’t the barista then it’s definitely your network, which is a really big issue.”
Starbucks, however, insisted that the tip was legitimate and that he must have entered the more than $4,000 tip by accident when paying for the cups of coffee. It did, however, issue a refund check…but the refund check bounced.
Mr. O’Dell, fuming about the error and the bounced reimbursement check, then got the Tulsa Police Department involved. Speaking about that, he said “At that point is when I started getting serious.” The Daily Mail, reporting on that aspect of the saga, noted that it was then that the O’Dell family had to cancel its Florida vacation, saying:
Officials for the popular java franchise told the O’Dells they would be sending checks to cover the costs. The Tulsa couple, however, say they spent a day calling customer service ’30 to 40 times’ after the checks bounced.
The O’Dells also say they were forced to cancel a vacation while they waited to get their money back and filed a report with the Tulsa Police Department over the situation.
Starbucks claimed the check bounced due to a typo and then sent him a second one that is “pending” in his bank account. Fox Business, reporting on that, said:
The new checks are pending in his bank account, O’Dell said, adding it will be a relief when they clear and he can move on from the stressful situation.
A spokesperson for Starbucks Corp. told FOX Business that the company worked to address an error made on a customer’s tip as quickly as possible and that the customer cashed the reimbursement check on Feb. 6.
So, to extract the lesson from the story, always check the “total” line on the screen before signing and confirming…otherwise you might end up having to cancel a trip and call a corporate call center dozens of times to get a refund.
By: Will Tanner. Follow me on Twitter @Will_Tanner_1
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