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Controversy Boiling Over Caribou Coffee's Card Promotion

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Fans of the Minneapolis-based company Caribou Coffee say they're upset about the way the end of a popular promotion was handled.

Caribou's Summertime Coffee Club rewarded coffee drinkers with a free coffee after initially buying seven. So, when no more cards were available, people complained.

"A loyalty program is supposed to keep wanting people to come in and it's just done the opposite of that for me," said Dawn Shelton, who says the card enticed her to buy her coffee at Caribou.

The loyalty program also encouraged her to convince her co-workers to switch, so when she learned there were no more cards available, she wrote a comment on Facebook.

"I went back to see if they had commented on what I said -- answered my question or my comment -- and not only had my comment been deleted, but I realized I did not even 'like' the page any longer," Shelton said.

Shelton is not alone and said she saw other customers who talked about their comments being deleted.

"Somebody else on their page said, 'I don't appreciate my comments being deleted,'" Shelton said.

She feels its poor customer service and a slap in the face to a loyal customer.

A Caribou official told WCCO-TV the loyalty program was phased out to make room for other promotions.

They said they received two or three comments from customers and each were contacted to see how the company could help.

Shelton said she was not contacted and will not go back to a Caribou until she is.

"If people are being deleted for writing something that Caribou doesn't like, we won't possibly even know how many people were deleted," said Shelton.

Caribou said no comments were deleted from their fan page.

University of St. Thomas professor of Marketing, David Brennan said Caribou can learn from this.

"What are the takeaways from this, in terms of as they go forward? This is something to learn from and that is part of this continuous learning that companies need to go through all the time," Brennan said.

Caribou said although they have no more cards to pass out, the program will be honored until Sept. 6, just like it says on the back of the card.

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