Coffee giant causes a stir over refusal to accept old £1 coins

Costa in Rottingdean
Costa in Rottingdean

Customers and fellow traders were shocked when a major coffee chain in Rottingdean stopped accepting old £1 coins six days early.

The High Street branch of Costa stopped taking the coins on Tuesday (October 10) after head office warned any old coinage in the tills after Sunday (October 15) would be paid for by staff.

Manager Mike Cross made the decision despite the national deadline not being until Sunday, October 15.

However, the move left customers and other traders in the area ‘surprised’.

David Tate, from Brighton, said: “I’m a little shocked that they aren’t accepting the old £1 coins, it is irritating especially as the other places are accepting them right up until Sunday.”

A member of staff at Mrs B’s, a cafe across the road from Costa Coffee, said they would be accepting the old £1 coins right until Sunday’s deadline, as they assumed all businesses should be.

In a similar response staff at the Queen Victoria Pub in Rottingdean also confirmed they would be accepting the old coins in line with the national ban.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Cross said: “Our head office has made noises that any old coinage left in our tills from Sunday will be paid for by the staff here.

“My assistant and I have made the decision to ask customers for an alternative method of payment from today, rather than accept the old coins.

“The post office is only over the road, and we have been directing our customers there so that they are able to exchange the last of their £1 coins.

“This morning one man was really stuck, with no other means of paying for his coffee so we did accept his single pound.

“But after Friday we will not be accepting the old coins in any circumstances, because we will have no way of changing them up before the national deadline.”

Mr Cross said this decision works in the customer's favour too, as Costa will no longer be giving out any old £1 coins with customers change.

When asked for comment, a spokesman for Costa Coffee’s head office said: “We are aware that from Sunday, October 15, the old ‘round’ pound coins will cease being legal tender, so as with other retailers, Costa will no longer accept these as payment from Sunday, October 15.