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MMD: Should I pay the bill?

edited 24 August 2010 at 6:42PM in Money Saving Polls
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Former_MSE_PenelopeFormer_MSE_Penelope Former MSE
536 Posts
edited 24 August 2010 at 6:42PM in Money Saving Polls
This is a real life MMD so please bear in mind the MoneySaver in question will read your responses:
Please give this MoneySaver the benefit of your advice...
Should I pay the bill for bad food?

A few months ago in Paris I ate with my familyin a little Italian restaurant, and the food was quite bad. I paid the bill and was told the payment was declined, so could I re-enter the PIN. With no receipt to prove this, I said I'd check my bank statement and send the money if they were right. They reluctantly agreed. The next day most of us fell ill due to the bad food. Back in the UK, I saw the transaction had not gone through. Should I pay even though the food was bad?
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  • PetaldustPetaldust Forumite
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    In my opinion you have two choices. 1 - Don't bother paying. 2. Pay the bill but then demand a refund. Both end up with you keeping the money and #1 is less hassle, although perhaps you should contact them and tell them why you are refusing to pay? Realistically I think you ought to have refused to pay at the time and explained why.
  • MothballsWalletMothballsWallet Forumite
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    I know in the UK that you can actually walk out of a restaurant without paying provided you leave your details with the manager and say why you're not paying (because the food wasn't up to standard), but France I don't know about as it's a different legal system.

    I think Petaldust is right, and it's not your fault that the system declined your payment (it was a French system, it was probably on strike :) )

    If you felt ill afterwards, then I wouldn't pay. Perhaps they haven't pushed it because other customers on the same day had the same illness that you and your family had and would have to refund anyway?
  • We had a terrible TERRIBLE birthday meal in Chinatown about six years ago, and a huge table beside us walked out without paying. My dish, for instance was burnt on the bottom and cold on the top, and tasted disgusting. One of the meals and the drinks arrived at the end of the meal! It was a birthday, so we tried to make the most of it. In the end it just got too much and we told the managers that we didn't want to pay the whole bill - we'd pay half or something - and they called the police, who wouldn't let us leave until we'd paid. Eventually we got the drinks free, but the police said that because we'd eaten most of it - I ate about 2/3rds of mine - we all had to pay.

    I haven't eaten in Chinatown since.
  • scotsbobscotsbob Forumite
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    I said I'd check my bank statement and send the money if they were right

    You gave your word, so you pay.

    If your word means nothing and you have no moral worth then I guess you would avoid paying.
  • If you can prove that you and your co-diners were ill, then send no payment and proof of your illness with professional diagnosis.

    It was, however, as stated, a few months ago - and I am guessing that the restaurant are not able to trace you (the OP), as you don't suggest that you are being chased for payment. Probably, if this IS the case, the restaurant have written-off the bill, hence their reluctance in agreeing to the gesture of faith - so you would probably get away with not sending the money for the full bill.

    HOWEVER - if the question is more one of conscience - and I was the OP, I would most likely send money to cover half of the bill, with a covering letter explaining that you and your co-diners were ill following the meal (with any proof, if you have it). That way, the restaurant have probably covered their basic costs, but not made much (if any) profit from the meal that may or may not have made you ill, and your conscience can be clearer than if you had not paid at all.

    Bonne chance! :cool:

    R xx
  • I really think the quality of the food should have been disputed while you were there, if you were not happy with it, it should have been discussed then not now when there is an easy opportunity not to pay.

    I appreciate the meal may not have been up to standard but it would have been fairer to discuss this with them when you were there.

    The other option would be to get in touch and explain that you were not happy and think some of your group was ill as a result and say you will pay some of the bill - maybe half, but not all as you were not happy with it.
  • edited 24 August 2010 at 11:56PM
    RuthnJasperRuthnJasper Forumite
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    edited 24 August 2010 at 11:56PM
    We had a terrible TERRIBLE birthday meal in Chinatown about six years ago, and a huge table beside us walked out without paying. My dish, for instance was burnt on the bottom and cold on the top, and tasted disgusting. One of the meals and the drinks arrived at the end of the meal! It was a birthday, so we tried to make the most of it. In the end it just got too much and we told the managers that we didn't want to pay the whole bill - we'd pay half or something - and they called the police, who wouldn't let us leave until we'd paid. Eventually we got the drinks free, but the police said that because we'd eaten most of it - I ate about 2/3rds of mine - we all had to pay.

    I haven't eaten in Chinatown since.

    That's such a shame - I'm sorry your birthday dinner was so spoiled. :( I'm curious as to which restaurant it was, as one of my favourite restaurants is (or was, I haven't been able to afford to get back to London for a while!) in Chinatown, and I have nothing but praise for the food AND the staff there. Probably a different establishment, though... The food and the treatment you and your party received sounds totally unacceptable, and not something I'd put up with either... :)

    A portion of Monty Python - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04QoA44c23A&NR=1

    x
  • edited 25 August 2010 at 12:35AM
    bestymanbestyman Forumite
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    edited 25 August 2010 at 12:35AM
    You should pay. That was the deal. Any complaints should have been raised face to face, not when you are 100s of miles away and there is nothing he can do about it - that is a cowardly act.

    If the owner said the transaction was declined why did you not believe him? did you have reason to think he was making it up so that he could take payment twice? Obviously no point in the owner doing this as you would simply claim it back from your bank.

    In my business (plumbing) , it has got so bad with dishonest customers that I no longer invoice and will not leave without full payment. As they say " In god we trust - everyone else pays cash".
    On the internet you can be anything you want.It`s strange so many people choose to be rude and stupid.
  • No, pace m'learned friends on this page, regardless of whether you enjoyed the food or thought it pretty dire, you could not have known when you paid the bill that you would suffer the after-effects the following day. That can only have been the result of negligent food preparation, and it creates a legal case of redress.
    That is also btw the moral/ethical position. We are all enjoined to apply professional standards to our work and compensate where negligence is evident.
    You should write and explain that you and several of your friends (enumerate them, time of entry, eating, payment, no names necessary) went down with food poisoning the following day. 'I believe I am legally justified in witholding payment, as it is apparent that you have been grossly negligent.' No reference needed to the payment that didn't go through - that's their business.
    You'll hear nothing further.
    Don't sue them - waste of time, even if you were to win.
    You could send a copy of your letter to the restaurant's local council's Food Health and Safety/Environmental Services Division - but frankly, they usually can't be bothered, although of course in the interests of their taxpayers they should be.
    Be thankful no one among your group actually died of food poisoning - it has been known.
  • jenniewbjenniewb Forumite
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    That's such a shame - I'm sorry your birthday dinner was so spoiled. :( I'm curious as to which restaurant it was, as one of my favourite restaurants is (or was, I haven't been able to afford to get back to London for a while!) in Chinatown, and I have nothing but praise for the food AND the staff there. Probably a different establishment, though... The food and the treatment you and your party received sounds totally unacceptable, and not something I'd put up with either... :)

    A portion of Monty Python - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04QoA44c23A&NR=1

    x
    :T Its pretend, it didn't really happen they just want a moral standpoint from you hon :o
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