Earlier this year, Starbucks announced that its “Starbucks for Life” game would be returning. The game allows customers to compete for “more than 4 million prizes ranging from Bonus Stars, gift cards and exclusive merch to Delta Air Lines tickets or Starbucks for Life*!” per the company’s press release.
While the move was initially met with enthusiasm, social media users are now alleging that something is wrong with the game — namely, that winning seems near impossible.
One such user is TikToker Alexis (@lex.kingdom), who called out the company in a video with over 116,000 views.
“Starbucks for Life is a scam,” she said. “I’m over it.”
@lex.kingdom ⚠️ @Starbucks For Life is a SCAM ⚠️ #starbucks #scammers #starbucksforlife ♬ original sound – Alexis
In the video, Alexis showed that she has nearly enough badges to win “something,” owing to the fact that “every single spin this month has been a win for me.”
However, Alexis said she suddenly received notifications that her spins were “not a win” for the past several days.
Taking to Instagram, she observed that this is a common complaint amongst Starbucks customers who play the game. Many users visible on her screen recording speculated that the competition is “rigged.”
In a follow-up video, Alexis reviewed the official terms of the game, which explain her situation.
@lex.kingdom ⚠️ @Starbucks for life is a scam. PT 2 #starbucks #starbucksforlife #starbucksscam #scam #scammers #greenscreenvideo ♬ original sound – Alexis
According to the terms, “Two (2) of the three (3) Game Pieces for each Prize Type will be awarded regularly to Entrants. However, there will be a limited number of the third Game Pieces for each Prize Type (“Rare Game Piece”) …”
In layman’s terms, this means that the first two pieces of each prize tier are relatively easy to get; the final pieces, however, range considerably in probability. For example, the “$1.00 off a Handcrafted Beverage Coupon” will be given to 50,000 people, per the terms. On the other hand, the coveted final piece on the “Starbucks for Life” tier will only be given to 2 people.
Furthermore, Alexis expresses dismay that “Winners are responsible for all taxes and fees associated with prize receipt and/or use,” per the terms. However, this is typical for such contests.
In the comments section of the original video, many users said they had a similar experience to Alexis.
“LITERALLY. All of my coworkers and I were just talking about this yesterday,” one user wrote. “We were all doing so well until just a few days ago…”
“2 years ago I won airline tickets from this game. After months of trying to get my prize they told me too much time had passed. Offered me 25 points,” a second claimed. They later followed up their comment, writing, “Yea! And we had been emailing the whole time, they kept telling me it was coming. Then all of a sudden too much time had passed. All BS”
Still, some users blamed the customers competing for the prize.
“Your biggest mistake was thinking this bajillion dollar corporation would easily give things for free by playing a game,” one user concluded.
The Daily Dot reached out to Starbucks via email and to Alexis via Instagram direct message.
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