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Not About Food

the "law" about automatic service charges (?!)


Not About Food 33

the "law" about automatic service charges (?!)

rwarren | Feb 14, 2009 12:47 PM

Dear foodies,

I was in a restaurant last night with a group, and printed on the menu was a notice about 15% service charge for groups of 6 or more. And it stated that this was per "the law".

Service was spectacularly poor (I will not bore you with the details) and because of that I asked to have the charge removed. Our group organizer intervened at my request and assured me the charge would be taken off, but when the bill (finally) came that charge was handwritten onto the bill. It took more than 10 minutes of prolonged discussion with two rude staff members, but finally the charge was removed. (They claimed the manager was not there.)

All this time they kept hiding behind this mysterious law. The city of Montreal 311 hotline says there is no such law, and referred me to the Quebec government. Since their hotline isn't open on the weekend, I prowled around their website. The closest I can find are regulations at Revenu Quebec about employers with tip earners and how to calculate their payroll deductions, with employees reporting 8% of sales.

This is not the first time I have had disputes with staff about service charges, but this is the first time a law was mentioned. Would someone please point me to said law, if indeed it does exist?

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