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Open Table cancellation question

SueFH Jul 27, 2007 03:20 PM

Hi, my first time using open table and I made a rez at a restaurant that asks me to call if I'm going to cancel or be charged a hefty per person fee. Like $65/pp hefty!

But I wasn't asked to give a credit card and now I can't remember if I've already given that to OT and so may be charged if I have to cancel the rez too close to the time.

Otherwise, if I didn't actually show up when I was supposed to, am I supposed to do the honorable thing and call to give them my credit card to charge me for not showing?

Don't mean to be flippant, just wondering if anyone's got any thoughts on this one. Thanks.

  1. Ruth Lafler Jul 27, 2007 05:11 PM

    It seems to me the honorable thing to do is call and cancel! If a restaurant is in such demand that they can require a punitive cancellation fee like the one you described, even after the cancellation deadline they can probably find someone to take your reservation if you call. Or you can give it away on chowhound! My "thought" is that someone who couldn't be bothered to call and cancel certainly couldn't be bothered to voluntarily cough-up a cancellation fee!

    I've used OpenTable, and I don't remember registering a credit card with them, so I don't think they could charge someone automatically.

    1. sivyaleah Jul 27, 2007 05:21 PM

      I agree with Ruth. I've been a member at Open Table for many years. They don't keep a credit card on file, so there is no way they could charge you.

      However, it's only right to cancel if you're not going. Even if the restaurant isn't in high demand, it still matters to management as far as planning their evening for walk-ins.

      1. j
        janeer Jul 27, 2007 08:13 PM

        You received an email confirmation from OT, and can cancel by clicking on a link in that email. As with a hotel or any other reservation, it is up to you to cancel, one way or another (email or phone) according to the establishment's policy. It's hard to imagine a circumstance, other than an emergency, why one wouldn't simply cancel versus not "actually show up."

        1. s
          SueFH Jul 27, 2007 09:10 PM

          To clarify, I would never intentionally blow off a reservation. I have called to cancel many times and always been thanked for doing so.

          I just got a little nervous about how they'd get the $65 if something happened that was out of my control. And the prix fixe we're going to is under $50/pp so that cancellation charge would be extremely egregious IMO.

          And thanks.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SueFH
            ccbweb Jul 28, 2007 07:10 AM

            Personally, given the set up you describe, I might think about a reservation elsewhere. In my view, when a restaurant sets up the rules ahead of time and is clear about them, I think we should all make our choices expecting to work within those rules. I agree that the $65 per person sounds like too much, but rather than try to figure out how to handle it, I think I'd choose not to. Things that are out of our control do, indeed, happen and I don't think I'd want to risk the charge in that case.

            If the restaurant doesn't have the means to charge you the fee, I don't think that should change how one should act with respect to their policies. They've simply got a policy that would lead me to choose a different place to go.

          2. hotoynoodle Jul 28, 2007 05:44 AM

            open table does not keep credit cards on file. so unless you gave your cc# in a secondary conversation with the restaurant, there is no way to charge you. it would be lunacy for them to expect no-shows to call back and pay a fee. i'm thinking you misunderstood what the reservationist told you on the phone.

            1. JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Jul 28, 2007 06:22 AM

              There is space on the reservation for a credit card number if you make a reservation by phone. It's only seen by the person who took your reservation, then is only accessible by management. If you have only placed reservations online, then you haven't left your credit card with the restaurant.

              Definitely call the restaurant to cancel, even if it's after their deadline. I know from hosting that I would much, much rather you call to cancel than just no-show. If you call, we can go ahead and seat the table. If you no-show, we have to wait until after we have figured you aren't showing up before we can seat it.

              Actually charging the credit card would certainly leave a bad taste in the mouth of a future customer, so I rather doubt that a restaurant worth its salt would charge a cancellation fee.

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