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Entertaining & Etiquette

Billing issue... what would you do?

rmanrman | Aug 21, 201410:57 AM     37

I dined at a restaurant last Wednesday with a few friends and ordered a couple of entrees and a bottle of wine (which was 1/2 off due to a promotion). Throughout the meal, the manager of the restaurant came over and chatted with us, and upon finding out that we were regulars to the restaurant, even offered us a dessert on the house.

When the bill came, I saw that the subtotal was roughly $50, when I was expecting it to be somewhere around $80. The bill showed that instead of just getting 50% off on the wine, we actually got 50% off the entire bill! Thinking it was probably a mistake, I called the server over and asked him to verify whether the bill was correct. The server looked it over and said that yup, it's correct, the manager wants to take care of us and wants us to go back again. I ended up tipping almost 50% for a total of ~$80 after tip/tax due to the discount and dessert.

A few days later I checked my credit card statement and it showed that I actually charged for ~$110 for the meal! I called the restaurant to ask about it. The manager was not in that day, but someone else investigated and called me back later, claiming that the system that they use doesn't handle discounts properly and therefore I was charged the incorrect amount, and that the manager is aware and will take care of it when she gets back.

I get a call from the manager two days later, and she apologizes and claims that my bill was in fact incorrect, and that only the wine was supposed to be 50% off. I told her that I checked with the server before paying the bill, and she says that the server made a mistake and has been reprimanded for it already. She says that what ended up being charged to my account is the correct subtotal + tax + the tip I wrote on the bill. She offered to comp us an appetizer or dessert next time we go to the restaurant as compensation.

From my point of view, I felt like I did all I could to check that the discount was correctly applied before paying the bill. I could have disputed the charge with the credit card company directly, but gave the restaurant the benefit of the doubt and notified them of the error. I have no problems paying the correct amount (especially if I had been charged correctly to begin with), but I'm extremely disappointed with the way they handled the situation. They could have contacted me regarding the mistake, but instead went ahead with charging me more than what I had signed for in the bill. I feel like the server, the person who took my call and did the initial investigation, and the manager all gave different stories as to what happened. The whole deal just left a sour taste in my mouth. IMO, if they can change my bill after the fact, I feel like I should at least be able to change my tip after the fact, seeing that the server lied to us about the discount.

What would you do in this situation?

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