The Starbucks App Glitch That Left Customers Perplexed

Starbucks app users got a bit of a surprise this week when out of nowhere, many of them received notifications saying, "Your order is ready" — orders that they did not place with the coffee company. According to Business Insider, Starbucks fans all received push notifications on their phones on the afternoon of July 19, prompting significant confusion as people tried to figure out if they had accidentally ordered something or had been mistakenly charged.

Many app users took to social media to find out if they were the only ones who saw the odd notification or to see if the app or their rewards accounts had been hacked. Starbucks later confirmed the false notifications were caused by a glitch in its system, telling BI, "Earlier today, a push notification from the Starbucks app was sent as an error, customers were not charged for an order if one was not placed" and encouraged customers to contact customer support if they continued to experience problems.

Temporary Outage

While the news that they had not been charged relieved many Starbucks customers, that wasn't the end of the technical issues. According to Business Insider, Starbucks was also experiencing problems with its online order system — presumably caused by the same glitch — and encouraged in-store ordering until the issue was resolved. A representative released the statement, "We are also currently experiencing a temporary outage of the order ahead and pay feature in our app. We apologize for the inconvenience and continue to welcome and serve customers in our drive-thrus and stores."

In addition to the inability to place online orders (which account for 27% of U.S. Starbucks' transactions), some users on Twitter reported having issues logging in and said that their order histories had been wiped out in the app. App crash-tracking website Downdectector reported over 12,000 complaints about the Starbucks app for the day, which peaked a little after 1 p.m. and were mostly resolved by about 4 p.m. Starbucks hasn't issued any further statement explaining what may have caused Wednesday's glitch.

It is worth noting that this is not the first time the coffee giant has experienced technical difficulties with its system. For instance, in March, hundreds of iPhone users received a notification from the app saying, "Hello test1 from seank." The Verge's reporting claimed that this previous instance was a benign cybersecurity breach and not the kind of data scraping effort many fast food companies have experienced in the past months.