Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Don Owens, Deputy Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7767
dowens@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

David Rosen, Press Officer, Regulatory Affairs
w. (202) 588-7742
drosen@citizen.org

Nicholas Florko, Communications Officer, Global Trade Watch
w. (202) 454-5108
nflorko@citizen.org

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

Feb. 13, 2012

Consumers to Starbucks: Remove Forced Arbitration Language From Gift Cards

More Than 15,000 People Petition Coffee Giant to Stop Limiting Their Rights

SEATTLE – More than 15,000 people called on the Starbucks Coffee Corp. in a petition delivered Friday to remove from its prepaid cards’ terms of service a forced arbitration clause and class-action ban that unfairly restricts its customers’ legal rights. The petition, circulated by Public Citizen, follows a letter that the organization, along with three other public interest groups, sent to the coffee giant in December with the same request: stop limiting consumers’ access to the courts.

Clauses in consumer contracts requiring that disputes be settled by forced arbitration have mushroomed in the past decade. These clauses shield corporations from accountability for wrongdoing. In forced arbitration, there is no impartial judge or jury to settle disputes, but rather a secretive proceeding run by arbitrators who rely on their corporate customers for repeat business.

“Forced arbitration and class bans eviscerate consumers’ rights,” said Christine Hines, consumer and civil justice counsel with Public Citizen. “Starbucks’ decision to use them is inconsistent with the company’s claim to be a leader in corporate social responsibility. Now, the people have spoken and they want their rights back.”

“Starbucks’ lead paralegal, to whom we delivered the petition, warned us that this would be a difficult fight to win and that we’d have to really make our voices heard to get above the cacophony of noises and complaints they receive,” said Deborah Lapidus, a Public Citizen activist who delivered the petition. “However, he assured us that having 15,000 signatures meets the bar for the petitions to make it to the general counsel’s desk and he said that the CEO would end up hearing about it too. Overall, Starbucks’ staff was polite, listened and took our concerns seriously.”

To see photos of the petition delivery, visit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/publiccitizen/sets/72157629303942459.

###

Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.  

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.