Starbucks ruins family’s dream holiday to Thailand by overcharging US$4.5k for 2 coffees

An American couple had to cancel their dream holiday to Thailand after a Tulsa Starbucks outlet charged them almost US$4,500 for two cups of coffee. The US multinational apologised for the mistake and sent them cheques to cover the cost. They bounced!

The drama unfolded when the happy couple, Jesse and Deedee O’Dell, and their four kids went shopping at an Oklahoma mall. On their way home they decided to pull into a Starbucks drive-through and order coffee. They paid for the coffee with a card but didn’t notice they had been charged US$4,456.27, which included a US$4,444.44 tip.

It wasn’t until a few days later, after their January 7 pickup, when Deedee tried to use a bank card at another store and it was rejected that they started to question why.

Jesse found the Starbucks receipt and the rip-off price and contacted the popular coffee chain to complain.

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The Starbucks district manager told Jesse that their network was having problems but not to worry as they would send two cheques to cover the cost. The cheques arrived but bounced when they attempted to deposit them into their account.

Starbucks ruins family's dream holiday to Thailand by overcharging US$4.5k for 2 coffees | News by Thaiger

Jesse said that the couple had been visiting Starbucks for the past 16 years and spent around US$10 every day for coffee.

“I ordered the Iced Americano and my wife, always gets the Venti Caramel frappuccino with the extra shot and it’s usually around nine to 10 bucks. An extra shot might raise it up to like US$10.75.”

Jesse said he specifically chose the “no tip” option when making his purchase at the Starbucks drive-through.

“I know how to press buttons, and I didn’t press that button. If it wasn’t the barista, then it’s definitely the network, which is a really big issue.”

The Tulsa couple said they spent a day calling customer service 30 to 40 times after the cheques bounced.

The O’Dells were then forced to call the Tulsa Police Department after the cheques bounced. The couple warned everyone to verify their receipts and now have reservations about going back to Starbucks after the incident.

A Starbucks spokesperson said the incident may have been the result of human error. The company is aware of the circumstance and the couple should be receiving cheques in the mail soon.

The Starbucks error had a major impact on their lives and forced the couple to cancel their dream family vacation to Thailand where Deedee is originally from.

“My wife is originally from Thailand and grew up in the States. We had planned to take a trip to the country as a family on January 27 but had to cancel and these tickets are non-refundable.

“This is something that has caused duress in our family and hopefully others don’t have to go through something like this.”

It was reported the problem has been resolved and the O’Dells cashed the Starbucks cheques on Monday, February 6.

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Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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