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Image: Starbucks Japan

Starbucks Japan apologizes for overcharging Frappuccino customers, offers refunds

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Japan gets a lot of seasonal Starbucks Frappuccinos, but even among those, the new My Fruit³ Frappuccinos are special. That’s because they’re only available at 15 Starbucks branches in all of Japan, so when these new fruity flavors (orange/passionfruit, strawberry, and grape/peach) went on sale last week, fans lucky enough to be close to one of the branches where they’re being offered rushed out to try them.

Unfortunately, in their excitement, some customers didn’t notice that they’d actually been overcharged for their drinks. The mistake occurred on February 15 at a number of the participating Starbucks branches, and the company has since issued an apology to customers and is offering to refund the difference.

The cause of the problem appears to have been a misconfiguration of Starbucks internal sales system. While the My Fruit³ Frappuccinos were supposed to have been priced at 750 yen after sales tax, for dine-in customers and 736 for takeout orders, at some branches an extra 20 yen was tacked onto the price and collected from customers.

▼ The Grape & Peach My Fruit³ Frappuccino

Image: SoraNews24

It’s not shocking that customers didn’t immediately notice the problem. Japan increasing its sales tax to 10 percent was a highly unpopular move among consumers and businesses, and so when the change took place a few years ago, it came with a few concessions. One was that groceries and to-go food and drink orders have remained at an 8-percent tax rate (with the exception of alcoholic beverages, which are always priced at 10 percent), while those same items, if consumed in-store, carry a 10-percent sales tax. Another is that merchants have the option of displaying their prices in ads, menus, and on price tags as either after-tax or before-tax.

The end result is that unless you’re keeping all those variables straight and checking fine print, it’s not uncommon for price concepts to be a little hazy these days, especially when buying drinks, and so a 20-yen discrepancy from what they initially expected probably wouldn’t set off too many warning bells in most people’s minds.

▼ The signboard at the Starbucks where we got our My Fruit³ Frappuccino, for example, just lists the price as 750 yen, with no notation next to it as to whether that includes tax or if it’s the drink-in or to-go price.

Image: SoraNews24

Twenty yen may not be all that much money in the grand scheme of things, but this is Japan, where companies take customer service very seriously, and so Starbucks Japan’s statement includes: “We deeply apologize for the great deal of trouble this has caused our customers. We are making efforts to ensure that this sort of error does not occur again, and humbly ask for your understanding.”

The refunds will be offered, in cash, to whoever brings their receipt showing the incorrectly charged price to the Starbucks branch where they purchased their My Fruit³ Frappuccinos.

Source: Starbucks Japan via IT Media

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Starbucks’ newest Japanese Frappuccinos start selling out before going on sale

-- Starbucks Japan’s new strawberry Frappuccinos are so social media-savvy their names are hashtags

-- Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte finally arrives in Japan!

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Gee getting a bit pricey at 750 yen but even then Frapuccinos are a sellout success for Starbucks in Japan.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Could buy a big jar of Nescafe for that and I won't get diabetes.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Reputation like fine art, hard to make and easy to destroy! Plus, who really needs expensive sugar water?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Could buy a big jar of Nescafe for that and I won't get diabetes.

Only if you drink 12 cups a day

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It’s all overpriced-all of it!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Unintended social experiment on the kind of people that order these drinks. It seems they are not exactly the ones that pay too much attention to how much money they spend, understandable seeing how pricey the things are on the first place.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well if they had the price you see is the price you pay, customers would have noticed and pointed it out. Instead they use the American system of trying to hide the tax……until you get to the till. Darn right annoying.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Starbucks. An overpriced and overrated sweets shop.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

No they don't. The prices on their menu include the (in-store) tax, as is the law.

except it seems it didnt this time...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hardly seems worthy of a news article.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Seems Starbucks better up their $ political campaign, media advertising and lobbyist efforts in Japan, as the ultimate coffee grifters have been exposed!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Every Starbucks product is significantly overpriced.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@Some shops do try to hide the tax inclusive price even though it is the law to show it! They put the price without tax in large print and the tax inclusive price in small print below!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The tax inclusive price is deceiving. Don’t trust it!

If you buy one (10% tax) item with a tax included price of 217.8 yen (198 without tax), you will pay 217 yen- they always round down the price.

If you buy two items of 198 yen, they will charge you 235 yen (217.8x2=235.6- rounded down) so you lose 1 yen.

“Sorry, how can the price be an odd number (235 yen) for buying two same priced items?”

If you buy 100, it will cost 21,780 yen which is 80 yen more than buying them individually.

If you multiply that by number of people and shopping trips per day, the government may be making 100s of millions of yen per day by this deceit.

Always buy things individually at checkout. Save yourself a fortune.

You’re welcome.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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