Starbucks’ goodwill gesture to staff could cost millions of dollars

An attempt by coffee giant Starbucks to give staff free coffee has back-fired after a woman lodged a multimillion-pound claim when she was refused her free beverage.

The company originally sent the offer to its employees in the south-east of the US and said they were free to forward it to their friends and family.

But the e-mail was forwarded around the internet to millions of people, forcing Starbucks to withdraw the offer.

When one New York woman was refused her free cup she consulted a lawyer and is now claiming $114m (£60m) on behalf of all those who were denied their free coffee.

She alleges fraud against Starbucks and is requesting class action status for the lawsuit so others can sign up to it.

The case is being compared to the McDonald’s coffee case in the 1990s where a woman successfully sued the burger chain for $3m after she was scalded by hot coffee.

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