MMD: Should I pay the bill?



  • Cloudane
    Cloudane Forumite Posts: 524
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts
    edited 25 August 2010 at 6:19PM
    They were kind enough to let you pay later, so pay, or others might not be so fortunate if they're in the same situation* (especially if they're one of these bloomin dishonest English tourists, in their mind!). Later being ill is unfortunate but happens, and is difficult to prove as that definite source.

    Imagine if they had said no - that they will wait for the police or whatever - because previous people had done this and not paid back so they don't trust people any more. What goes around comes around, or at the least, the world is run by what WE put into it.

    If you do decide not to pay then I agree with those who say to at least tell them why, to limit the damage to their faith in humanity and honesty.

    * although it sounds like something that would happen rarely, it's probably quite frequent since many card providers require you to notify them if you go abroad and many do not think about this. Each person who then breaks their promise to pay is like a vote against trust.
  • Sid_Harper
    Sid_Harper Forumite Posts: 1,891 Forumite
    edited 25 August 2010 at 6:34PM
    Mrs Harper and I had an issue at Las Iguanas in the O2. Her salad had lots of tatty lettuce in it (browning edges, which you'd cut off and throw away). She complained but by the time the woman arrived, because she was hungry and had been picking at it, only those bits were left!

    I on the other hand had a burger that was like chewing a shoe. I had one bite and decided it was awful.

    So we called the manager over and (1) agreed to pay for the salad (as it had been eaten!), (2) agreed not to pay for the burger, and (3) didn't pay for the service (which was very poor).

    What to do? Pay for what you eat, not for what is inedible, and pay service only if it's due (if it's included, you can take it off - I have done this before too).
    The thanks button is here to the right. If you find a post saves you money, gives you useful information, or you agree with it, take a second to thank the poster! :)
  • mungaman
    mungaman Forumite Posts: 32 Forumite

    Yes I definitely think you should pay, even if it's only half. To eat a bad meal & then pay (or at least try to pay as in your case) you admit to agreeing the meal was worth it. If you eat it you pay; if its bad food & you dont eat it, you dont pay- simple!!
    To not say anything at the time is very poor on your part; you should have said something at the time. Now you can (if you choose to) obviously get away with it because of the managers trust in you. To wait 2 or 3 months then say it was bad food & you got ill is not fair on the restaurant. They trusted you & you never said anything at the time. You must pay something.
    I agree with others; never ask for something to be cooked more, heated up or complain & ask for more, some chefs will play football with your food; better to say it's bad & have nothing rather than run the risk of "steak football in the kitchen".
    If you have a builder that does bad work on your house, do you pay him?? Of course not!!

    You ask him to do it properly then you'll pay.(bit different in a restaurant I know but it's an example).
    P.s. Agree with the tradesman who asks for payment straight after the job. If the jobs done well, people should pay straight away.
    "in God we trust ..." - that's great!!!
    You should
  • cristalfiona
    cristalfiona Forumite Posts: 201
    Part of the Furniture
    My daughter says she:rotfl: would never send the food back incase someone spits on the replacement.......

    Having worked in many restaurants, I know that the only time anyone might ever spit in someone's food is if that customer is loud, obnoxious and rude to the staff. If you were to politely explain what exactly is wrong with your food, most places would offer you a replacement or a refund, with the preference being a replacement so that a) they can show you that the food is good and it was just an error, and b) you don't miss out on eating.
  • relaxtwotribes
    relaxtwotribes Forumite Posts: 366
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    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.

    You ate 2/3rds of a meal that tasted disgusting - more fool you!!
  • JayD
    JayD Forumite Posts: 687
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Combo Breaker
    I believe that you should have complained about the quality of the meal at the time. They would probably have wived the charge - or at least some of it.

    Now you are asking if you should not make any payment - after saying that you would, if it had not gone through on that day.

    Forgive me for saying so, but this all seems pretty gutless.
    You don't seem to have the courage to either confront them face to face, or even in writing!

    If you feel very strongly about the bad food and your consequent illness, I suggest you write to them. First saying that you have now checked and they were right - the payment did not go through and then saying that your party had not only been rather dissapointed by the quality of the food on that evening but that you had all suffered digestive problems since - which you strongly believe to be a direct consequence of the meals they served you. I would then ask them how they would like to proceed on the matter and see what response you get.
  • oldnewhand
    oldnewhand Forumite Posts: 80
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    It amazes me the restauranteur allowed you to leave without payment. I know there can be issues with credit card machines, but as my husband is an indepent retailer and so uses these machines he has an old pre pin standby which can take an imprint, hand writes ccv number,expiry date and customer's address so he can enter the sale manually. This works so long as the card is valid and in credit. Maybe their command of English to do this was insufficient and your command of French too lacking to complain about the standard of food. Morally and legally you should pay if you accepted and consumed the food, tempting though it may be not to.
  • John_Pierpoint
    John_Pierpoint Forumite Posts: 8,389
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    edited 28 August 2010 at 6:37PM
    personally I don't believe in food poisoning having never had it

    When you have real food poisoning you will know.
    My wife and I had a nice meal in a little bistro - in Venice not Paris - just after we had paid but were still finishing the coffee and the complementary chokies, I got to my feet saying I did not feel too good and went to the loo to pebble dash the pan. I returned to the dining room and spectacularly passed out in the middle of the room.
    I declined the offer from the paramedic to throw me in a gondola and take me to hospital.
    Staggered back to the hotel only to discover early next morning that I was passing blood.
    It put the mockers somewhat on the weekend break.
    On return to the UK my (Indian) GP was not at all phased and said "Ah toxic shock". We got the local hospital to analyse a stool but the results were indeterminate.
    So why did my wife not have the same problem? - I put it down to getting an incorrectly cured bit of Parma "raw" ham.

    dan_m2k wrote: »
    As regards the MMD, I wouldn't pay, if the restaurant pursues it then explain why you've not paid. My feeling is that you're not the first to have dodgy gut the day after from that particular establishment.

    Life's too short for all the messing around.

    Funny, a builder that did some work for me in the last couple of months who had that attitude is about to get dragged through the courts.

    Don't builders have a web site where they black list customers?
    sloggie wrote: »
    As an hotelier I have strong views on this:-
    1. You entered a contract to pay so you should have done
    2. If there was a problem with the food you should have dealt with it at the time.
    3.Who said you got ill from the food in the restaurant. Did you have stool samples analysed - that's the only sure way to work out what was wrong with you? It could have been lunch, afternoon tea etc. I once served a dinner function for 150 people and over 60 were ill the next day. We were blamed. Rigorous testing and investigation revealed the problem to be in the works canteen and not our hotel.

    I think the reality is that the poster of the original dilemma has allowed this to go on for far too long, if you want to dispute the contract, do it as soon as possible.
    The French are terribly bad at taking criticism but the Italians are usually pretty good and have the political skills to organise a compromise or even a win/win situation. Now the rest of us Brits. going to this bistro will get a cold shoulder treatment, on the theory that we are all cheats who run out on our debts.

    [My daughter, an experienced waitress from the age of 14 to 24, claimed she could spot the customers who were intending not to pay - but it was one of the risks of being in business - it only becomes a criminal police matter if "fraud" can be proved - difficult as the only thing they take away is a belly full of food].
  • tallgirld
    tallgirld Forumite Posts: 484
    Part of the Furniture
    I would only pay the bill if they chased for it.

    They're all the way in France how are you suppose to remember if they don't remind you? :-)
  • asnac
    asnac Forumite Posts: 15 Forumite
    Hi everyone, I'm the OP. I'm annoyed that MSE severely edited what I originally submitted, even down to changing details, and it ended up making me sound somewhat more cavalier than I really am - and making the issue more black and white than it really is.

    The first thing that MSE took out of the original post was that this was Paris on a Sunday evening in August - an impossible time to find a restaurant - and that I was with two children who just needed feeding after a long day.

    Also they took out these facts: this restaurant appeared closed like all the others, I was not expecting to find the door of this gloomy place open, but we saw someone coming out. When we looked inside there was a man, who seemed surprised to see us. When I asked whether we could have something to eat, he said yes, but that we could only have pasta! To be honest he didn't seem to be a restaurateur and certainly didn't look like one. (The facts that he was not cooking the regular menu and that he didn't know how to process a card transaction tend to support this.)

    Agreed, I didn't complain the moment the appalling food was set in front of us. The reason was, the children and I just needed to eat, and once we had eaten, it seemed the wrong time to complain. So my inclination was to pay and give it up as a bad job. And once we had the food poisoning, it was time to pack to get back on the Eurostar rather than go back there and complain. (Not a pleasant train journey.)

    Also agreed, I can't be sure that it was that meal which made us ill. But I haven't had food poisoning in years and the fact that it was all three of us the very next day makes it pretty likely that this restaurant was the source.

    I hope this gives a bit more context. I really am grateful for everyone's replies. These certainly made me think, and I was on the point of writing a letter to the restaurant asking what they thought I should do, when it occurred to me that as things stand, they don't have my address, but if I contact them without full payment, they could theoretically sue me.

    Some may still see this as black and white - yes, I did say I'd pay - but I gave my word to them when I believed that we had received a square meal (though being royally ripped off by being given plain pasta with a jar of sauce dunked over it).

    The situation changed thereafter. After we had the food poisoning I started mulling over what had happened, putting all the evidence together in my mind, and what I believe now is that the man probably had no right to provide us with a meal and had no training in the same and most likely gave us food poisoning as a result. So I came to look on the failed card transaction as an appropriate misfortune for that restaurant.

    My inclination is to give the value of the food to a charity. I'm not going to send them anything.
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