starbucks negative star balance

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‘Now they’re making me work off my star debt’: Customer claims Starbucks app accidentally gave him too many stars

'Star debt collectors are coming your way.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Apr 25, 2023   Updated on Apr 26, 2023, 2:47 pm CDT

If you’re a Starbucks fan, there’s a good chance you’ve already installed the franchise’s app on your phone and an even better chance you’re enrolled in Starbucks’ Rewards program.

The app typically rewards customers two points, or “stars,” per dollar spent. Stars can be redeemed for free beverages, baked goods, retail items, and more.

Customers who participate in rewards programs tend to see these points as a nice bonus for shopping at a business they already frequent. However, companies appear to take their rewards points very seriously, which Twitter user Jush (@bohrmagnezone) learned when he unexpectedly received extra Starbucks rewards points added to his account.

In a now-viral Tweet, Jush writes: “starbucks accidentally gave me enough stars for a free drink but they caught the error and now they’re making me work off my star debt #%&$@!l? just big and greedy.”

Jush attached two photos to the Tweet. One shows a -33 star balance. The second photo was taken after he “paid off” some of his rewards debt, leaving him with -23 stars.

One commenter who saw the post quipped, “You think this is an accident? Not a chance. Starbucks wants you in star debt so you will keep grinding for them, working ever harder to pay it off, taking high interest loans and odd jobs out of desperation. You think the Italian-American mafia died? They just went into coffee.”

Others said they’ve also gone into “star debt,” like one Twitter user who ended up with -76 stars: “Same here!! I got the 200 stars and got a drink and now I’m in star debt lmao.”

Another was surprised the retailer wouldn’t just let customers enjoy the stars received in error: “Pretty sure that’s just an L you take if you accidentally give someone a free drink. It’s not like they sent $1M to your checking.”

The Daily Dot contacted Starbucks via email and Jush via Twitter comment for further information.

Update 2:46pm CT April 26: In an email to the Daily Dot, a Starbucks spokesperson shared the following:

“On Saturday April 22, a QR code for bonus Stars given to attendees of an in-person event spread online, going beyond the intended audience. The Stars redeemed through this code have been removed from ineligible accounts. We apologize for the inconvenience.”

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*First Published: Apr 25, 2023, 4:20 pm CDT