The district attorneys' offices of Sonoma, Monterey and Shasta counties have settled a civil complaint that claimed Starbucks failed to redeem gift cards worth less than $10 for cash.
Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua announced the settlement Wednesday.
"This action ensures that when it comes to gift card cash refunds, consumers will get what they deserve," Passalacqua said.
A California law enacted Jan. 1, 2008, requires businesses to refund gift card balances of less than $10 for cash.
Starbucks agreed to pay $225,000 in civil penalties, costs, restitution and to other provisions that ensure future compliance, Passalacqua said.
The civil judgment was filed in Shasta County Superior Court on Aug. 13.
It requires Starbucks to outfit all its point of sale devices with a specific button to allow employees to process in-store redemption of gift card balances, train employees in the procedure and post signs notifying customers they may redeem their gift card balances of less than $10 for cash, Passalacqua said.
In July, there were approximately 1,800 Starbucks stores in California and 35 in Sonoma County alone, Passalacqua said.
Starbucks cooperated with prosecutors during the investigation, Passalacqua said.
The giant coffee chain made some efforts to comply with the January 2008 law and once alerted to the investigation, addressed the problem before the filing of the complaint and judgment, Passalacqua said.