bellefior (bellefior) wrote in bad_service,

It's an 8, not a 0....

This happened to me recently when I went to a local restaurant to purchase a gift certificate for my in-laws anniversary. I'll preface this by saying that this restaurant has a good reputation and we never had a problem with them before. It's a 400+ seat capacity with great food and excellent service (until the incident which I am about to describe).

My husband decided to wait in the car while I ran in to get the gift certificate. I approach the counter where the woman was who sells the gift certificates. I tell her I want to get one for $50, and hand over my debit card. I get the gift certificate, the slip to sign, and I notice that she has charged me 58 dollars for a 50 dollar gift certificate. I point this error out to her, and she says, I can't get you one for 58 dollars, I gave you one for 50 dollars. I politely explain that I wasn't looking for a $58 certificate, but that she had charged me 58 dollars on the charge slip. She looked at it and INSISTED repeatedly that the 8 was a 0. I politely told her she was mistaken. She then gets all pissy at me and asks if I want to speak to the manager. At this point I am slightly aggravated and I ask her to please call him over.

Manager comes over, I explain the situation. He indeed verifies that the slip says $58 and not the $50 that the biddy insisted it was. He then proceeds to tell me that I could only get credited for the $58 on Monday, because that was when the business office was open (not open on weekends), and they do the credit, that there is no one there who knows the codes to initiate a charge back on the credit card machine (claimed you need to input certain codes for a credit, don't know if that is true or not). He then tells me that if I wanted to get the certificate, he would have to charge me $50 AGAIN, and then I would be just credited the $58 dollars. I ask them if I could just be credited the $8 difference rather than being charged again, and he told me it would not be possible, but the office would take care of it on Monday. So fool that I am, I let him charge me again, because we needed the gift cert to give to my in-laws for their anniversary. I have now paid $108 for a $50 gift cert., but am assured it will be taken care of on Monday. When I get back to the car, my husband asks what took so long, and I tell him. He gets upset that $108 has been taken out of our bank account for a $50 gift certificate, and that we have to wait until Monday for them to run the credit through and that there is no one there to do it now. although they can apparently debit our account. He goes in to talk to the manager, and gets the same spiel, with the same assurance it will be done on Monday. Both of us were polite, didn't yell or anything like that.

I keep checking up on my bank statement daily to find out if its been credited and it has not. It is now Weds. I first call the bank to see if its there and its not, and ask them how long a credit to a debit account should take once its run through. 1-2 days at the most. So I call the restaurant and ask to speak with the same manager. When I get him on the line, I am then told that they needed my full credit card number to run it through, which I gave them again. Again more promises it will be taken care of immediately.

I figure I will wait a few days. The credit didn't show up on Saturday, and it didn't show up the Monday either. Its been almost 10 days since my card was first charged. At this point I've decided I am done dealing with morons and will speak with the owner directly. My husband is so aggravated at this point that he asks me to let him deal with it. He decides to write them a letter, on his office letterhead, describing how his family has been going to the restaurant for years, and have always had excellent service until this recent incident. I probably should mention here that his is a lawyer and does a lot of consumer protection law. I made him show me the letter before he sent it and thought he did a good job, because I wouldn't have been half as nice. He didn't threaten, didn't ask for anything (other than to get us our credit), didn't mention any consumer protection laws they may have violated (didn't even mention the words consumer protection, laws or lawyer at all in the letter) just was very rational, and told them in a straightforward manner what he thought of the business practices and service we received. He mentioned that he thought it was a bit ridiculous that only the business office could initiate a chargeback, and asked them if they had added an extra zero on the slip would we have had to wait 10 days for them to fix their mistake. He also added that he couldn't understand why instead of charging me twice, they couldn't take the overcharge of $8 out of the till and give it to me, why the staff (management at least) wasn't trained in how to give a refund (and how they got both charges through when I didn't sign the first slip. He sends the letter off. Pretty much its the same type of letter you might get from any customer unhappy with the service, other than the fact he put it on his office letterhead.

Credit finally shows up on my account 3 days later. The day after I got my credit, my husband gets a call at work from the manager at the restaurant. The guy was immediately apologetic, said that it was poor business decision on their part, and that the owner was going to insure that managers knew how to make a charge back on the credit card machine, that it shouldn't be limited to just the office staff. Also agreed he should have just given me the 8 bucks and called it a day. He asked my husband what could he do for us and he told him he had taken care of the credit, that's all we really wanted, but next time we came in and there was a wait for a table, if we could just ask for him and be immediately seated. Manager tells him no problem, he'd even buy us a drink on the house.

I didn't feel too badly, however, about having sent the a letter, since what happened to me was ridiculous and completely unnecessary. I've never been to a business where I could not get an immediate credit, that only the business office could do it (which isn't open on weekends) and it took 10 days to process it. If nothing else, its poor business practice. At least they fixed it.

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