Starbucks – Twickenham – Toilet Seat Broken – Almost serious Accident!

Yet again a high street retailer fails miserably at access.

My initial email to Starbucks:

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you today regarding my scary experience using your disabled toilet in your Twickenham branch.  Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have had to complain about one of your disabled toilets.  This is really becoming a pattern.  Things really do need to improve.  It is only a matter of time before a customer is seriously hurt using one of your toilets, if it hasn’t happened already!!

My name is Caroline and I am a full-time wheelchair user, I visited your store on Saturday 11th May 2019.  The slope leading to the disabled toilet was blocked by a stack of wooden high chairs.  No offer of help from staff to have them moved.  So I struggled to move them myself.  Still no offer of help!  Entering the disabled toilet, I found a warning stand notifying of wet floor.  I had to remove this, to allow room for my chair.  Oh, by the way, the floor was dry.  I didn’t realise until I was already on the toilet that the toilet seat was broken and loose.  This caused me to almost fall off the toilet twice.  I also struggled to get back into my chair as the toilet seat kept slipping to one side.

After using the disabled toilet, I went to the counter and asked for the manager.  The lady looked at me horrified and seemed unsure of what I was asking.  I had to ask a second time if a manager was available!  Still no response!  Another member of staff behind her asked what the problem was, again I asked if a manager was available.  I was told they were on holiday.  I asked was there anyone in charge, both members of staff just looked at me with blank faces.  Unbelievable!! 

I complained to both of them how the ramp was blocked, preventing my access to the disabled toilet due to the stack of high chairs.  I complained how I almost fell off the toilet twice again due to the toilet seat being broken and how dangerous the toilet was.  I explained that if I had had an accident I wouldn’t be here complaining, I would be talking to a solicitor!!  One of the girls kept looking at the ceiling as I was complaining, showing no empathy or any attempt to understand my trauma of nearly having an accident in their store.  The other girl just looked blankly at me.  So I left saying that I would be making a formal complaint!!  Here it is!!

I await your reply

Yours sincerely


Dear Caroline, Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company. I am sorry to learn of this incident at our Twickenham branch. I want you to know that we take these matter seriously, and that I will escalate the incident to the appropriate team for their attention. Please note that a member of our team will get in touch with you soon.

Their reply was this:

Dear Caroline, 

Thank you for taking the time to contact Starbucks Coffee Company. 

I am sorry to learn that our toilets were out of order in our Twickenham – King Street. Providing a comfortable environment in which you can relax and enjoy your favourite beverage is a high priority at Starbucks, so we appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention. 

I have shared your comments with the store and district management for their attention and investigation. 

I would like to assure you that the details will be reviewed with the partners in the store to ensure the issues with the toilets have been reported and will be back in service as soon as possible. 

I hope we can continue to welcome you into our stores and as a gesture of goodwill, I would like to send you some beverage coupons for you to use on your next visit to Starbucks. So that we may welcome you back into our stores with complimentary drinks, please send me a postal address. 

Once again, thank you very much for sharing your feedback with us and for giving us the opportunity to improve our operations. 

Yours sincerely,

So obviously, they don’t take matters seriously as explained in their 1st response, otherwise they would have known I never said that the toilet was “out of order” and like I would complain about that? Toilets break down you know.

  1. The toilet was NOT out of order, I used the toilet unaware the toilet seat was broken.  Hence my scary ordeal of nearly falling off your toilet not once but TWICE!! 
  2. I did not email their company with “comments” for them to share with the store and district management for their attention and investigation.  I am making a complaint.  I expect this to be dealt with according to their complaints procedure. 
  3. There has been no mention of how I was treated by their staff, so one would assume Starbucks are not willing to address this?

I have asked for them to re-read my complaint and respond accordingly!

Will update when this happens.

24/5/19 – Starbucks:

Dear Caroline, 
Thank you for your response. This is concerning to hear. In order to address this matter directly, I would like to put you in contact with senior

If you would kindly provide me with a contact number, I will pass your details on so that you will be contacted. 
Kind Regards

I gave them my contact number and waited.

7/6/19 – I received the following text message:

Hi Caroline, my name is X from starbucks I’ve tried to call a couple of times regarding a complaint I’ve received and wanted to catch up with you on it.

Could you let me know a good time to call as when I’ve called your phone has said it’s unavailable. Thank you 🙂

I replied: Hi X. Thank you for your message. I am free this afternoon if that is any good? Just let me know a time. Thanks Caroline.

X replied: Hi Caroline, am in meetings this morning so can I give you a buzz on the way home this afternoon 🙂

I said ok that’s great …………………. I’m still waiting for that phone call!! I waited all afternoon!!

This is SENIOR MANAGEMENT????? I don’t know this person personally, yet they speak to me like I’m their friend…….”Can I give you a buzz on the way home”, “wanted to catch up with you on it”. Very professional indeed…….Nothing like making someone feel important eh?

***UPDATE*** 11/6/19
I receive a phone call this morning at 9:00am, just as well I was up!!

She apologised for not phoning last Friday, something about couldn’t get through to me. I explained I had my phone by my side at all times waiting for her phone call.

She explained how she had got my complaint and wanted to know more. I explained the situation to her and she said she wasn’t bothered about the toilet seat being broken, as they had now moved into new premises. Alrighty then, moving on!!

I explained how the staff treated me when I went to the counter to complain about what had just happened. She explained how all staff are adequately trained, I replied: “clearly not”. I explained how the staff looked at me like I had two heads and how one just kept looking up at the ceiling looking rather bored! She asked if I knew the names of these ladies, I said no but described them and X knew who I was talking about. She went on to say how she knew these were adequately trained as she had trained them herself……..Hmmm!!!! Again, I said “clearly not” and suggested they probably need more training, especially when dealing with complaints.

Again I was offered vouchers and was asked to forward my address, I explained how I didn’t want vouchers, just the situation to not happen again!!

Vouchers do NOT fix any complaint, some people will take them, others like me just want the complaint dealt with and measures put in place to prevent these from happening again………Simple!!!!

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