manda (ph34rth3ll4m4) wrote in bad_service,
manda
ph34rth3ll4m4
bad_service

I love being lied to.

A few weeks back, I was on a side of town I'm not usually around, with my mother, and decided to treat her to dinner. I use Yelp a lot, so we ended up deciding on a Japanese hibachi place nearby because we love hibachi and they had a check in offer. One free appetizer for check in. Sweet!

We get to the place, and the first disappointment is that it isn't really a hibachi (let me clarify - I suppose it could be called a hibachi but the grill itself was small and away from customers, not the kind of hibachi I've experienced anywhere but the food court and not something I'd expect to see in a more "upscale" place.) It's small, but it looks nice, so whatever, we wait. Once we're finally seated, I check in and present the coupon to the server after she's taken our drink orders. "Oh", she says, "Yeah, um, we aren't honoring these anymore. Actually, we canceled them like... a couple months ago. But once in a while we still get someone who comes in and tries to use it." Oh. Okay. Well, we were settled in and I didn't know how check in offers work so I let it go. The service from there on out was meh - our drinks weren't filled at one point near the end which left us with no drinks for the remainder of our visit, the check was very slow to come out, and when she was taking our order she asked, "So... no appetizers today?" and shot me the weirdest look... No, I am not going to buy something I was expecting to get for free, thanks. But that was a matter of tone and it's rather hard to convey on here.

Anyway, I added a tip to their reviews which let others know that they are no longer accepting the check in offer, thinking that what the waitress had told me was true. I also posted to our local forums on Yelp asking about how the check in offers work, and if that's really what had happened. I mean, it sucks for both the customer and the restaurant if what she told me was true, right? I only felt the need to ask because of the way she asked me about appetizers as it had seemed odd. Turns out, it only takes a few minutes to cancel a check in offer with Yelp, it's not a matter of canceling it and waiting - it happens right then and there. (http://officialblog.yelp.com/2010/11/just-in-time-for-black-friday-check-in-offers.html) Meaning, the waitress lied to me about them canceling the offer. Had they even attempted to cancel it, it would no longer be available period.

Upset by this, I downgraded their review and went through the quick tips. Turns out, this restaurant has been doing this for at least seven months. There are reviews and tips going back that far saying, "They're refusing to honor the check in coupon." They're obviously aware that this is an issue... right? So I emailed them and received no response well over a week later. I've also posted on their Facebook page about it, again, with no response.

Is it just me or does it look more and more like they're baiting customers with this offer? Its been a while and I still haven't heard back from anyone on the matter despite my complaints, and the offer is still up. Strange. I have already tried to contact them on it more than once, downgraded my reviews for them, left tips - but I'd really like to see them legitimately cancel the offer if they're refusing to honor it anymore. Is there anything else I can do? Aren't they legally obligated to fulfill the offer in some way, kind of like a store has to sell something at an advertised price?
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