We'll Call You: Starbucks

Mole was keen to find out more after reading reports that the chain paid just £8.6m in UK corpo­ration tax over a 14-year period, and none in the past three years.

Starbucks Good morning. How can I help you?
Mktg I’m concerned about all the reports I have been reading that Starbucks has not been paying much tax. Is this all true? Also, I have been struggling to get through to your customer care line this morning, which has been annoying.
Starbucks What can I tell you, we have been kind of busy this morning. Sorry.  Yes, we have had a lot of publicity at the
moment but the important thing to remember is that Starbucks does pay tax in the UK.
Mktg  OK, so why all the bad
reports. Is it not true?
Starbucks Hey, I am not qualified to go into the nitty gritty of it all, but we do pay tax. One thing I can suggest is to go the Starbucks website, which maps out some of the issues. That is definitely worth a read. The other thing to mention is that Starbucks continues to invest and create jobs in the UK.
Mktg So, will there be a change in Starbucks’ approach to tax?
Starbucks I don’t know about that. What I do know is that we are working hard and will continue to do so. I am a US citizen and I pay my taxes. I can see why tax is such a big thing, it really riles me, but Starbucks does pay tax in the UK.
Mktg It seems as though you are just the latest whipping boy out there, following on from News International, the BBC and Facebook.
Starbucks Yes, you are right, It is Apple, then someone else, then someone else. It is just how these things pan out.  Anyway, if there is anything else we can help you with, remember all you have to do is pick up the phone.
Mktg OK, that is good to know. I’ll have a look at the Starbucks site and see if I can get some more information. Thanks.

VERDICT: 8 out of 10

The call-handler didn’t shy away from any of the questions and never resorted to stock answers. He seemed genuine, went into detail and came across as charming, rather than a cold corporate voice.


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