NEVER AGAIN, Starbucks great opening act but you fumbled in act II.
Positive Product Points
I've been buying Starbucks (SB) barista stuff for years. I own a SB Utopia Coffee maker which is still working great. I also owned a manual Barista machine which still functions. I received the Digital Italia (DI) as a surprise Christmas present after I had pretty much worn out my SB Barista manual Espresso machine. It makes a pretty consistent cup of coffee or any other espresso drink. Easy to clean and maintain. Up until this review I was very satisfied.
Negative Product Points
The hose from the boiler to the frother kept popping out for unknown reasons. No problem, I just put it back in but it was really annoying when I had guests and it would do this. Up until the final calamity, the DI would keep asking to be primed for unknown reasons. Descaling it and resetting it seemed to fix the problem.
Starbucks decided this past August to blow them out for $399 and pretty much void the 2 year warranty offering a full refund (with receipt or CC statement, no exceptions) or a store credit of a $399 starbucks card (no exceptions) as a remedy. I don't know what made me more mad: The price blow-out or discontinuing the product so abruptly.
I was firing it up frothing some milk for lattes for a birthday party, when, the plastic elbow at the threads to the frothing wand blew. It was no use fixing it. I decided to finally exercise my 2 year warranty just barely 1 year into having the DI. What I thought would be a wonderful customer service experience has turned into almost total disenchantment with Starbucks Barista appliances.
I was informed by my customer service rep (Chris) that they no longer carried the DI and I could have a full refund with the original receipt and/or a credit card statement. Unfortunately, and somewhat out of practice, neither my wife nor I could find the CC receipt. MY BAD! I take the blame for that; however, I find it interesting Starbucks would be such a stickler this time on refunding their hardware. I've taken stuff back before without a receipt. Here is the real reason: I was informed SB decided to blow out the DI this past Aug (2005) and dump the line. Mr. rep blamed ebay for undermining the product which I found a very weak excuse. I complained and got kicked upstairs to his upline supervisor.
Less than 24 hours later, I talked to the next supervising SB rep. She was very nice an polite, but trained very well in standing her ground. Just like the orginal rep, she stood firm in the receipt//CC requirement. She was even unmoved when I told her the manager of the store where it was purchased could vouch for the fact it was bought at her store. This, even after I told her, miraculously, I still had the original box and SKU #. Unimpressed, she offered me the $399 Starbucks card. Yikes! Currently, I'm researching my old CC records confident I will find the original charge and get back my full purchase price-----eventually.
Given my recent experience, I was surprised to read a raving review of the DI (12/03/2005).
As other reviewers, the initial buying experience was great. They treat you great and sometimes throw in some extras if the store manager knows and likes you.
Three Month Followup
I finally got my FULL refund from Starbucks, but not without having to scream to the corporate offices. SB has apparently gotten out of the Espresso machine business when it comes to backing warranties. They offer the Delonghi brand now, but this time you have to go through the manufacturer not them. I still won't buy another machine from Starbucks even though they gave me a refund. It was just way too much of a hastle.