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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 September 2006, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Starbucks sued for pulling offer
By Stuart Cohen
BBC News, Washington

Starbucks coffee shop
Starbucks e-mailed the offer to employees in the south-eastern US
A Starbucks customer in the US who was told her free drink voucher was worthless is launching a $114m (60m) lawsuit against the coffee colossus.

Starbucks pulled the free drink offer, saying it had been redistributed beyond its original intent.

The woman's lawyer says $114m equals the cost of drinks for all those turned away when the company decided to cancel its offer.

He hopes millions of other disappointed customers will join the legal effort.

The company originally e-mailed the offer to employees in the south-east of the US, with instructions to forward it to family and friends.

Like many popular things on the internet, the e-mail quickly got out of control, being forwarded to perhaps millions of people around the country and posted on websites.

When Starbucks realised how many people were coming in for their free drink, it rescinded the offer.

But one customer in New York city felt so betrayed she approached a lawyer.

He is accusing the company of fraud and is requesting class-action status for the lawsuit, hoping to sign-up countless others around the country who also missed out on their free drink.

Legal experts do not think the case has much chance of winning.

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