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Jun 21, 2006 09:51 AM

Weirdness when leaving a cash tip

  • t

I don't know if anyone has experienced this problem. For the second time in as many months at two separate restaurants, I paid the bill with my ATM/credit card and left a cash tip (both times above 20%). I clearly marked 0 in the tip section and wrote out the correct total and signed the bill. On both occasions, when checking my account the next day, I discovered the restaurant tacked on an additional 18-20% tip to my bill. On the first occasion, I called the manager, who was apologetic, and, after faxing him my statement and the bill, credited my account. The second time, which just happened a few days ago, I'm still dealing with, and the manager is saying that they only sent in a charge for the cost of the meal. Now is this a policy at restaurants or banks to do this? That the customer has funds wrongfully deducted from his or her account until the problem is rectified is clearly inappropriate.

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  1. You've been treated inappropriately. I presume you have reported these incidents to your visa/MC/bank. If not, you should.

    Even if you left no tip, they can't add it after you've left.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Darren

      Thanks for the responses.

      1. re: Tolstyak

        fyi- I always write the word CASH on the tip line to avoid confusion.

        1. re: pamd

          This is a good ideal.I am going to start doing that.

      2. re: Darren

        Look, he has not been treated inappropiately. It is the policy of the card he holds. The computer knows that the purchase is a dining experience, your bank knows, the card knows, and they hold an extra percent in case you tip. The bank's policy for having a debit card. Don't like it, don't use one!

        1. re: In the biz 2

          "Look"? hey, I misunderstood the situation. No reason for you to suggest I stop using bank cards. People treat this misunderstanding as a capital crime, for gosh sakes. I didn't realize the original poster had checked the card the very next day. Sorry that I didn't realize this, but please try to be more civil in your post. Just because you are "in the biz" doesn't mean you are actually a nice person!

          1. re: Darren

            the only nice people "in the biz" ain't any longer...

            from another "in the biz".

          2. re: In the biz 2

            I might add that the OP wrote "On the first occasion, I called the manager, who was apologetic, and, after faxing him my statement and the bill, credited my account."

            This led me to believe the restaurant had, indeed, made a mistake. Why would the restaurant credit his account, otherwise?

            Again, please keep your tone something more appropriate for a conversation with friends, rather than sparing partners.

        2. I think there have been threads on this previously.. Some credit card systems are set to automatically tack on a 15-20% tip immediately on the charge towards your "available balance". Then when the transactions is posted after a couple of business days the actual charge is deducted...

          3 Replies
          1. re: deibu

            I'm a restaurant owner and this is exactly what happens. It is a credit card policy and not the fault of the restaurant. When the charge is finally procesed the added "tip" will go away.

            1. re: deibu

              This is correct. Was the additional amount actually POSTED to your account or was it just authorized? If it was just authorized you are going to a lot of needless trouble. If it has actually posted and the restaurant isn't helpful, just tell your bank that you want to dispute the charge. (This is assuming that you used a MasterCard/Visa debit card or credit card - you said that you used an ATM/credit card and there is no such thing). Hope this helps!

              1. re: deibu

                This has been discussed so frequently it merits an FAQ of it's own.

                Bottom line: no harm, no foul.

              2. m
                Morton the Mousse

                As others have said, this is a perfectly normal bank policy that the restaurant has no control over. I've linked a hilarious anecdote involving this from the excellent Blog Waiter Rant.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Morton the Mousse

                  I'd say the story in that link is particularly mean-spirited. The guy pissed off the manager. That's no reason to call him a snob or engaged in the insulting dime-store psychology. Maybe the guy has another reason for checking his bank balance or credit card statement the day after his diner. Perhaps it wasn't out of the paranoid delusion that someone was trying to rip him off. I check my credit card transactions every two weeks, having once been the victim of identity theft.

                2. That's certainly odd. The restaurant that you're dealing with presently must be feeding you a line. There's no way that they bank would alter with your total after it got to them. It would have to be done at the restaurant on their credit card authorizer. That being said, I have no idea why any restaurant would simply "add on" a tip. I know that in my restaurant, there've been times when regulars have neglected
                  (forgotten) to include a gratuity, and I've instructed my staff to add one in, as I know that it was simply an oversite.
                  What I would suggest to you is that you write "cash" in the line set aside for gratuity on your slip to avoid any confusion. I don't know the people/restaurants that you speak of, so I can't answer for them. Hopefully you'll get things sorted.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: gigi

                    You "instruct " your staff to add charges on someone's account after they have signed their ticket...I don't know about the "biz" but in law school they call this fraud.

                    1. re: gigi

                      Can't believe you have your staff write in tips for regulars. I am a regular at a local pub, and always tip more than generously. If I forgot to leave a tip, I would no doubt make it up to them at my next visit, but would really be upset if they added the tip themselves.

                      1. re: macca

                        We own a restaurant and would never let a server add their own tip. We've had occasions where the customer has left with both copies of the credit card receipt, or left with the wrong half, so the server will end up with no tip at all , and even if we know the customer well, we would NEVER just add a tip. As previously stated, it's illegal.

                    2. It isn't actually the credit card company that holds the additional is the processing company that does it. As a restaurant owner or manager, you can call the processing company (your point of sale system, often - like aloha, squirrel, or whatever) and have them change the percentage or take it off completely. It is sort of a safety net for the restaurant but can work against you if you use your debit card because the hold can stay on your account for up to three or four days depending on when it was posted (weekend, holiday, etc.)