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stopping payment with credit card company

in the recent "sent food back, meager comp" thread some people suggested that the OP call their credit card company to stop the payment from a disastrous dining experience. i recently had a dining experience where the restaurant grossly padded our bill and essentially hosed us (we were a large group, about 12-13 people). without getting in to what happened, the night ended with us speaking to the management who shrugged us off, we all left very dissatisfied, and were very vocal with them that we will never return (which is dissapointing because it was a place my husband and i had been frequenting the past 10 years). my question is, when calling the credit card company to stop payment, is it enough to just say that we were dissatisfied and we don't feel we should pay for it? or are there certain criteria that credit card companies need to hear in order to justify a stop payment?

has anyone done this and what did you say to your credit card company?

thanks!

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  1. Being dissatisfied and "feeling" that you should not have paid is not a reason for stopping payment.

    You stop payment for a fraudulenetly submitted charge-one that you did not authorize or sign for. (i.e., your card or number was stolen and something was charged on it-and if it was stolen, you do need to file a police report)

    If you signed it, you paid it.

    A few year ago I used my MC in a small store in Missouri and later two small ($13 and $22) charges showed up. I had not used that card anywhere else on that trip, so I saw the small charges, which may have been overlooked if I were using the card a lot. I called the credit card company, they told me to put it in writing and then said they would investigate both companies to see what proof they had of my authorizing-or not- the charge. They said to pay the rest of the bill and they would hold off the charge and interest on those two items until it was settled. It took more than six months for them to determine I had not authorized the two smaller charges.

    If you ordered and item and never received it, then that is a different situation. There would most likely be an investigation into shipping and proof of receipt, etc. Feeling regret is not going to fly.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Cathy

      that's what i thought too. but after reading the post i had referred to, it sounded like some people had experience stopping payment after the fact, followed by a letter of dissatisfaction to the restaurant. here's a link to the thread i'm referring to http://www.chowhound.com/topics/465370

      1. re: rebs

        Depends on your credit card company, I would imagine. Indicate that you signed under duress, and were subjected to intimidating management.

        What did management say when you pointed out the overcharge? Did they acknowledge it but refuse to do anything about it? Did you pay in frustration and then leave?

        In that, I guess the method described in that other thread would have been called for, i.e., make a scene and refuse to leave.

        Since you did sign, your credit card company, if agreeable, will enter into dispute negotiation with the restaurant owner -- did you call the owner by the way? -- but unfortunately it is the decision of the credit card company in the end.

        I always find it astounding that there are restaurants like this out there.

        1. re: dolores

          we spoke to one of the manager's about it and his response was "well, sorry about that" then laughed. i'm not kidding. this was a sushi restaurant in chinatown that is open until 4 AM on fridays and saturdays. i think he just grouped us in to the late-night drunkard crowd when in fact we were a group of restaurant managers, servers, and chef of a high-end restaurant in boston. yes we were in a celebratory mood, as this was a send-off for one of our colleagues, but not drunk and stupid.

          here's a little more info on what happened... because we were a large group we asked the server the tell the chef to just put together a big boat of different items for us to share. about 20 minutes later, a HUGE boat of sashimi came out. it was literally wall to wall sashimi and we were only able to finish half of it. about 15 minutes later a very large boat of nigiri sushi came out and we were already totally stuffed. so i told the server that we didn't want any more food. 5 minutes later she comes out with another huge boat of maki rolls. i told her that i said we didn't want any more food to come out and she said "well it's this and we have two more plates for you and then that's it". in the end the bill was $1400 (including a $220 automatic gratuity). we spoke to the manager and asked why the hell they sent out such a ridiculous amount of food and he said it was because our original reservation was for 18-20 people so they made an appropriate amount for that. we had some people cancel so when the 13 of us sat down we told our server that we were all there and we were ready to order. they made enough food for 20 people anyway, though the amount of food on the table was really enough for 25-30. there was that much. in hindsight, i understand that as consumers we should have been more clear with the amount of food that we wanted rather than leaving it in the hands of the restaurant. but as restaurant people who fulfill guests requests for tasting menus all the time we thought we could have faith that they would send us out an appropriate meal. instead they loaded us up with as much as they could put out and charged us for it. a big boat's worth of sushi was left untouched. what a waste!

          as far as our "regulars" status... this was our first visit back to the restaurant after a several month hiatus. the manager that had greeted us at the door was not the same gentleman that we knew and had worked there the past 10 years so i'm guessing he either had the night off or doesn't work there anymore. so we weren't recognized.

          after much face-to-face arguing by one of our party members with another manager, the restaurant ended up taking $10 per person off the bill (about the cost of 1 order of tuna sushi each), which still wasn't right but was something. we ended up paying because we needed to go. one of our party members took down the owner's name and said she was going to call him to complain. i guess this is the best we can do and have to chalk this up as a learning experience.

          1. re: rebs

            rebs... OK...
            So now that I have read your detailed response (Thank you for sharing your experience) I'd still have to say it was, unfortunately, pretty much your responsibility. As restaurant professionals, you guys should have known better than to just leave it in the hands of the kitchen.and " have faith that they would send us out an appropriate meal." There is no such animal as an "appropriate meal" It's like trying to define 'normal'. If you made the original reservation for 18-20 and your numbers went down to 13 you should have specifically ordered something from the menu for the appropriate number of diners. Telling someone to just make up their idea of what you might want to be served is just (I'm sorry) a bit careless on your group's part. When the first boat arrived and you realized it was way more than enough, you should have made it very clear right there and then that you didn't want any more food, Assuming nothing else would be coming was strangely naive for a group that included mgrs servers and a chef. I don't know if you informed them that you were in the business, but if you did, perhaps they were trying extra hard to impress you with their food and presentation. Apparently, by the time the 2nd course arrived and you informed the server that you didn't want any more food, your other dishes were already in the processs of being prepared. That, though would have been the time to speak with the Mgr. The fact that the Mgr on duty didn't know you, explains why there was no special courtesy extended to you as a long time patron. I would have just asked to have the food packed up and would have taken it home.
            Not that it is the point of your posting and maybe I've gotten too accustomed to fine dining, but I didn't think the cost of $1,400 for 13 people, including gratuity, minus your $130 cost reduction taking it to $1,270, was bad at aIl. a tad less than $100 per person. I think you said it very well: "chalk this up as a learning experience"

            1. re: Tay

              no, $100 pp is not a bad price for the amount of food we got, but the point is that we did not need that much food. $50 pp worth of sushi would have been appropriate and we still probably would have had some left over.

              1. re: rebs

                "no, $100 pp is not a bad price for the amount of food we got, but the point is that we did not need that much food. $50 pp worth of sushi would have been appropriate and we still probably would have had some left over."

                How were they supposed to know that? Did you give them a rough idea of how much food you wanted? When I go out in a group and request that the chef "take care of us" I always make sure to at least give them an idea of how much food we are expecting. They aren't mind-readers.

                In this case, I'd chalk it up to experience and consider it a not-terribly-expensive lesson.

            2. re: rebs

              rebs, there's no harm in trying, although I would be surprised if you do get your money back. I'm sorry to hear about your experience, but I have to admit to cringing when you wrote that you left it to the chef to put together your meal. I think that's a recipe for disaster. The restaurant could have handled things better and more diplomatically, however.

              1. re: gloriousfood

                But rebs did say this to the server:

                "... so i told the server that we didn't want any more food. 5 minutes later she comes out with another huge boat of maki rolls. i told her that i said we didn't want any more food to come out and she said "well it's this and we have two more plates for you and then that's it"."

                So how is that like a catered party where the food is ordered in advance?

                The restaurant couldn't alter the amount of food being prepared as befitted the patrons?

                1. re: dolores

                  You'll have to ask the restaurant that question. My point is that I would never think to tell a place to "put together" something and leave it to their discretion.

                  1. re: dolores

                    Dolores, it takes more than 5 minutes to make a huge boat of maki. The rolls were probably done and ready to be served by the time the party decided they didn't want any more food.

        2. rebs
          You leave us at a great disadvantage by failing to provide details of your experience. That being said, I'd tend to agree with Cathy. When you're in a bad dining situation, you really need to settle it right there and then. If, however, you felt you were fraudulently charged, you could have (believe it or not) filed a police report documenting the alleged acts.That would give you some documentation to give to the CC Co. If you are talking about poor service, or even a noticed discrepancy, then you speak with the Mgr and if, as you stated, you were blown off, you then ask to speak with the Owner. If he/she is not available, you start (literally) taking names and state you intend to notify everyone from on line food chats sites, like this one, all the way to the Better Business Bureau.
          Frankly, I'm both puzzled and curious as to what transpired that was so terrible that it would happen to a patron of such long standing. A 10 yr restaurant/patron relationship is pretty impressive. I'm gathering that you were overcharged, most likely on the bar portion of your bill. I cannot imagine a Mgr not responding to something like that.
          With respect to you, I'm thinking there is another side to this story.

          1. R

            jfood was one of the posters who said to stop the payment. he also mentioned at the end of his post that you will probably lose in the end. The point of disputing is two-fold. It will take management's time to respond to the CC company, time which would have been better spent speaking with you at the time. since MOD would not at the time, now make him do it. The second is it places a mark against the resto at the CC company (remember The Sopranos episode).

            In your case it is different. Jfood would recommend small claims court for your example. Get notorized statements from the people who attended and sue the bum in court. You may also consider filing a police report it the MOD did pad the bill. That is totally unacceptable and illegal.

            18 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              jfood
              Hmmm... Although I don't always agree with you, I always enjoy your well considered postings. This not the response I would have expected from you, You know as well as anyone, no, better than most, that a long term restaurant/patron relationship doesn't fall apart over one meal. There is something here that has not been expressed in the posting. I imagine it's in the , "without getting in to what happened" part of the story.

              1. re: Tay

                Right, Tay

                To go from "disastrous dining experience" to "grossly overpadded our bill and essentially hosed us" to "dissatisfied and don't feel we should pay for it" leaves a *lot* of blanks.

                I left a more or less generic answer, based on the final statement...

                1. re: Cathy

                  Cathy
                  The OP was kind enough to detail her experience for the Board. I think she is right to just chalk it up as a learning experience. Moral of the story: Unless you know the staff/chef very, very well, and they know your palate and finances just as well, you never just tell the kitchen to come up with an "appropriate meal"

                  1. re: Tay

                    Agree with you, Tay. Since OP said they had been frequenting the place for the last ten years, assumed something had been discussed.

                2. re: Tay

                  jfood can overlook almost anything but out and out thievery. The data posted was "the restaurant grossly padded our bill and essentially hosed us". The resto stole from the custo. It is unimagineable in jfood's world that (a) it happened and (b) "management who shrugged us off".

                  An off night by any member of the staff is understandable. Theft and the actions thereafter totally crosses the line and should be met with due measure.

                  1. re: jfood

                    But do you see, jfood, that to equate stealing with 'disastrous' and 'dissatisfied' is...askew?

                    Something is majorly not being said about the situation and merly asking how to word a stop payment does not seem in line with all the statements.

                    I do understand the jfood contention about theft by padding the bill. I don't understand the OP more or less stressing the "feeling" they should not have to pay because of "dissatisfaction" and asking how to get out of it.

                    1. re: Cathy

                      See rebs' follow-up post above posted at 2:35pm:

                      "we spoke to the manager and asked why the hell they sent out such a ridiculous amount of food and he said it was because our original reservation was for 18-20 people so they made an appropriate amount for that. we had some people cancel so when the 13 of us sat down we told our server that we were all there and we were ready to order. they made enough food for 20 people anyway, though the amount of food on the table was really enough for 25-30."

                      So it sounds like the restaurant ordered appropriately for the initial reservation, and perhaps there was no call-back from the diners to say the # of people dining had been cut by 7 or so people? Even though the OP said they didn't want anymore after the nigiri sushi was put it front of them and then the maki rolls, it sounds like the restaurant just made them pay for all of the food that had been ordered for the original reservation even though they weren't going to eat it. Again - not sure if the OP called the restaurant to say they were going to have fewer people, and if they did, the restaurant should have put out fewer items. And if the restaurant *was* told it would be fewer people, I have to agree it was forced padding of the bill - "we ordered this food for your original reservation numbers, and you're going to pay for it, no matter what" and that could be the basis for their contention of the total bill.

                      But on the other hand, if you are having a catered dinner (like a holiday party) and you have the caterer order food for 40, and only 25 people show up, you still have to pay for the food for 40 people. So....not sure if a contention of the bill would work in this case.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        There must have been a glitch when I posted, Linda; I didn't see the OP situation response.

                        But I agree with what you say-it was only forced padding if the restaurant was indeed notified in a timely manner the number of patrons would be smaller.

                        I still don't see it as a 'disastrous dining experience' nor a particular overcharge for 13 people given what they were served, consumed or not. They ate all they could after all.

                        1. re: Cathy

                          But the OP told the server:

                          "... so i told the server that we didn't want any more food. 5 minutes later she comes out with another huge boat of maki rolls. i told her that i said we didn't want any more food to come out and she said "well it's this and we have two more plates for you and then that's it"."

                          Was it equivalent to a catered affair or to a group of people coming to a restaurant in a group? Even if the server is being notified when the party is being seated that the number has been reduced, is there a volume of food set aside for any advance reservation?

                          If it were an Italian restaurant, would the server say, on being told 'no mas', that 'well, we have six more veal dishes and four more pasta dishes and we're bringing them out whether you want them or not'?

                          If the server had said, 'and now we're bringing you dessert and you'll eat it', would that be based on dessert having been put aside and the chef not being able to accommodate a change in plans?

                          I am either seriously missing something here or this is one of the worst restaurants in the world.

                          1. re: dolores

                            and it seems these sushi items were made way ahead of time.

                            1. re: dolores

                              Raw fish does have to be bought fresh -that morning- and so I beleive the food was specifically set aside for the group of 20 who had a reservation. Apparently this happened in Boston and the fishmongers are open at about 4 a.m. and are all sold out before 7 a.m., as I recall.

                              A lot of the food had to have been sliced up ahead of time and was waiting to be uncovered and placed and ready to go. It *had* been ordered, by virtue of the OP telling the restaurant to 'put together food to share for 20 people'. It really can't be plated onto a boat in 5 minutes.

                              I think the restaurant did a better job by being prepared when the party walked in, sat down and was ready for them with the first boat and were just waiting to set up the 2nd boat. .

                              If the restaurant had *waited* for the party to show up and *then* started slicing (assuming all 20 people did show), then there would have been complaints of 'why did we bother to make a reservation for X hour and had to wait another hour just to *start* to be fed?'

                              I think the restaurant was being very professional and prepared for a large party, who had made reservations. The flailing that has to go on when a large group just shows up hungry sometimes makes a kitchen look unprepared and uneven in presentation and quality.

                              This place made certain nothing would run out in anticipation of a large group who wanted "just a big boat of items to share"-and made certain to make reservations for that privilege.

                              I do think the part you may be missing is it is a sushi place and not an Italian place where it might be easier to change an order since the heating/prep is different and has to be done in a different manner, and also some of the Italian foods can be refrigerated/frozen/saved for another day, unlike raw fish.

                              1. re: Cathy

                                Understood, Cathy.

                                Note to self: don't ever plan a party at a sushi restaurant.

                                I had never understood there is no wiggle room in this type of establishment.

                                1. re: dolores

                                  Well, if it is a good one, then everything is extremely fresh...and you should want to go there.

                                  ...and you basically want to stay away from a place that advertises "half price sushi"...on Mondays :)

                          2. re: LindaWhit

                            Oy. The devil in the details again. Can you see jfood's tail firmly placed between his legs, the droopy ears and the look of a shaggy dog. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

                            This, in no way, is "padding the bill", which is placing items on the bill that were never delivered. Second the OP gave carte blanche to the resto to bring food and made a reso for 18-20. Once the whells were put in motion it was hard to stop this train.

                            The item that jfood finds the fault, and probably gives 20% of the total blame to the resto, is that when the custo stated they had enough, the server should have treid to stop more fish being prepared. But we do not know if that occured or did not.

                            This is totally miscommunication, nothing fraudulent, nothing padded, possibly hosed, but absolutely not the facts that would lead to anything other than licking wounds, discussing with the manager and learning from lessons.

                            Thanks LindaW for pointing jfood to the corrected post.

                            1. re: jfood

                              LOL! ::::patting jfood on his shaggy dog head::::: No problem, jfood - we've all be caught up in the "post a response before reading *all* of the responses" before. :-)

                              I agree - I think the fact that it is a fresh seafood/sushi situation, and the (unknown but seemingly probable) non-communication by the party organizer to the restaurant management that the number of diners was going to be a good number fewer than originally booked prior to the event's day to prevent over-purchase of the raw seafood items caused all of the food to be prepared and served. Not much choice in doing that on the restaurant's part.

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              for catered dinners, there's usually a guaranteed number put in place and signed for before hand (like a wedding). so in that case you wouldn't be able to contest the bill.

                              1. re: rebs

                                Yes, but that's what your reservation was as well - a guaranteed number to be eating the food they were going to prepare - unless you called a day ahead o ftime to lower the number of attendees.

                                ETA to add I did just what I had said in my earlier post - I responded before I read your additional post below...so I was unaware you had made the rez same day.

                      2. re: jfood

                        Assuming small claims court is the way to go, notarized statements sound like a great idea. Be forewarned, however, at least in NY, the statements would not be admissible in lieu of testimony.

                        That said, while it does sound like the restaurant took advantage of the situation, it also doesn't sound exactly like they padded the bill. To me, when someone pads the bill, they jack up prices or bill for items not provided. It sounds like what happened here was that the restaurant was taking advantage somewhat, but there is nothing here (including in the information provided after jfood's post) to indicate that the food was not provided or any assertion that the bill was actually in excess of the amount for which the restaurant would normally have charged for the food. Was the restaurant "right," no, but I think the chance of recovery in small claims court is "iffy" at best. Could be a sick sort of satisfaction for the customers in watching the restaurant to have to retain an attorney to fight the case, even if they lose.

                      3. As Mark Knopfler sang, " We're a long way from home. Let's just pay the man and go." It is way beyond the responsibility of your credit card issuer to resolve a local dispute about food quality/ service in a restaurant. As we visit exotic locations around the world, and ATM machines are omni-present we rely on that resource. By my count, there are 153 sovereign nations I can safely visit with my travel documents from 2 countries; 5 years ago there were 169. American Express has been my advocate in at least 15 disputes worldwide over the last 27 years, and I have prevailed with all of them. But I certainly don't bother them about unpleasant meals. Matters of infinitely larger scale can appear in a moment's notice with foreign travel, and you want all the friends you can summon up.

                        1. OP here again...

                          thanks for the responses so far. from what i've read so far i think there may be some misunderstandings of the situation. the reservation was made earlier that evening (an 11:30 pm reservation made around 5 pm). we didn't call ahead to ask if they could put together a sushi boat for a group of 20 to share and there was no first sushi boat ready for us for when we arrived, as another poster i believe thinks happened. the point of "forced padding" would make sense if this was a situation where we pre-ordered a sushi combination for 20 people, but we didn't pre-order anything. just a plain reservation. we sat down with the intention of ordering a la carte, but since none of us were picky eaters and there were so many of us, we thought it would be easier for the server to just ask the chef to put together a boat of things to share rather than taking 13 individual orders. as i had said, the first boat of sashimi came out after about 20 minutes, so that says to me that nothing was pre-sliced for us and they began making our food once we put the order in. at our restaurant it is not unusual to have large parties ask for the chef to just put out a bunch of appetizers for everyone to share rather than having everyone order their own. in that situation we would bring out an appropriate amount for the party (usually about 1 app for every 2 or 3 people). for tasting menus we would always check in with the guests after each course and if they were getting full we would tell the chef to wrap it up. our mistake was that we trusted they would do something similar and use a little common sense considering the size of our party. technically, yes that is our fault for making that assumption.

                          yes, we showed up with fewer people and no we didn't call ahead to tell them because we didn't find out for ourselves until we got there. as restaurant people, we know that this is very annoying and we deserve a slap on the wrist. however, there was enough of us that the area they had reserved for us wouldn't have been able to accomodate another party at the same time, nor would we have been able to fit anywhere else in the restaurant. so they didn't lose any potential covers because of us.

                          basically we trusted this restaurant in a way that we expect our guests to trust us when we are serving them. unfortunately, they instead took the opportunity to go crazy with the ordering so they could run up the bill. then used the excuse that it was because our reservation was for 20 people, even though there were only 13 of us when they started to prepare the food, and that's why so much food went out. the fact that there was a whole boat's worth of sushi left untouched on the table proves they were not taking our party size in to consideration.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: rebs

                            Wow. Whole new story. I never even considered anyone would have to make reservations for 11:30 at night anywhere. If a place is indeed that popular and busy, then I would think that $100 per head is not bad pricing at all, and it sounds like with the quantity of food, the restaurant is hardly making any money. Strange business practices, if I do say so.

                            I still don't think you can cancel a credit card payment, though. Has anyone done that to your restaurant? Has it worked?

                            1. re: Cathy

                              we only made reservations to ensure they would have the area in the back that accomodates large groups available. also, it's just generally a good idea to give a restaurant a heads-up that a large party will be entering the restaurant. in fact, their business has slowed down considerably over the years (they used to be the best sushi spot in boston for many years before trendier and better spots gave them competition) and when we got there the dining room was half empty. their busiest times are on friday and saturday nights when the bars and clubs get out (after 2 AM). we had left about an hour before that rush.

                              1. re: rebs

                                Rebs

                                hope you've recovered from the sushi-fest. you have been extremely diligent in giving us additional information and accepting some of our comments. As jfood stated earlier, this is a great learning experience and for $100 for a lot of sushi not a bad way to learn.

                                jfood has done a little reflecting on his pendulum responses he has placed to this post, and given additional info that keeps appearing, he has some thoughts:

                                1 - Boston is not an inexpensive sushi town from jfood's experience and in thinking about what he has spent for sushi in your great town, $100 is not an unreasonable tab to get the tank to full. In fact jfood has spent more than that pp and has left with room in the tank The place on Washington has Maki's for $18-24 each and jfood once mistakenly ordered a $42 lobster sashimi appetizer in the sushi place in the Westin.
                                2 - a reso is a two sided social contract. you state that it was "just a plain reservation" and "we only made reservations to ensure they would have the area in the back that accomodates large groups available". Maybe so but the number was 20, and in jfood's book that's more than a 4-top. The resto has to make sure there is enough food to accomodate, not necessarily prepare, but have available. so it was more a private party than a plain reso.
                                3 - the resto was hopefully informed when the party went from 20 to 13 and they should have adjusted the output once they had that data. The only reference was your statement "when the 13 of us sat down we told our server that we were all there". It is unclear whether you told the server "we're all here" or whether it was "we're all here and the number of the party is now 13, not 20." The server could have assumed that some may be in the rest rooms, or parking.
                                - "i understand that as consumers we should have been more clear with the amount of food that we wanted rather than leaving it in the hands of the restaurant. but as restaurant people who fulfill guests requests for tasting menus all the time we thought we could have faith that they would send us out an appropriate meal". jfood can not compare a tasting maenu to a sushi "bring it on" event. A tasting menu is a set number of courses that has a social contract upon ordering. This was left in the hands of the resto. But your insight is honorable and this is one of the cruxes to this thread. Caveat Emptor.
                                - The Maki Boat appears to have been in process. It would have been tough to stop a ship under full speed. The last two dishes you used a different word, "plate" to describe. Was that intentional? Were the last two dishes not boats but merely wave runners?
                                - As someone also stated, one "boat" to feed 13 does not seem like a lot of food. jfood has seen 4 people easily polish one off, even after appetizers. But you described it as wall to wall so none of us have any idea the amount of food that was served

                                But in all of these comments, the common theme is communication. The reso was for 20, and it was 13. No fault of yours, since you actually showed up. Unclear as to the communication when it was discovered it was 13, not 20. The table gave carte blanche to the server, the server gave carte blanche to the chef and the chef gave carte blanche to his knives. Once those wheels were in motion it was a speeding train.

                                But in the end you had a lot of sushi for $100, and for that jfood is somewhat envious. And if you had a good time with colleagues, enjoyed as much sushi and you could eat and the whole thing was $100, in Boston, not a bad night. As for padding and hosed, sorry but not in agreement on that aspect. Bad communication and bad execution, absolutely have jfood in that boat (no pun intended).

                                1. re: jfood

                                  I see Chinatown, but I don't see Boston. I was assuming New York.

                                  Highway robbery, no matter which city, but I don't see Boston.

                              2. re: Cathy

                                Exactly - your additional explanation, rebs, gives us a lot more information than we previously had and previously responded to. With the additional information, it now does seem rather strange that they continued to make food for you all even after you said you were full and didn't want any more.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Bingo.

                                  Too bad you didn't all make a scene while you were there. As I've experienced, the credit card company may or may not side with you.

                                  If it were my decision, I would. Has the name of this restaurant been posted? If not, it should.

                                2. re: Cathy

                                  'I never even considered anyone would have to make reservations for 11:30 at night anywhere.'

                                  Doesn't matter. It's even worse now. The restaurant padded the 'food'. They did NOT buy ahead to accommodate, but they surely hosed the patrons.

                                  Phew.

                                3. re: rebs

                                  No offense, but while I think there is a lesson to be learned here. I do not think that ethically you have the right to dispute the cc bill. I think the charge pp for fresh sushi is not that high. I also think, as you admit that making a res for 20 and showing up with 13 is rude. They may have given you too much food, but you did leave it in their hands, I don't think they did anything criminal, however, once you said you were done, I do agree that they should have scaled back on the food a bit. But again, the price was not that excessive.

                                  1. re: SweetPea914

                                    i agree, i don't think we can dispute the bill with the cc company. there is still room for discussion with the restaurant though. this thread kind of took off in the "what really happened" direction that i forgot that's what i was posting about in the first place!

                                    as i said in a previous post, it's not so much the cost itself that bothered us because i do agree that $100 pp for the amount of sushi they served us is not that bad. it's just that they ordered us twice as much as what we needed and we had to pay for it.

                                4. I guess the lessons here are: let them know asap that some of your friends were not going to show

                                  and

                                  if you want food for sharing give them a price something like could you make us sushi and shashimi etc for all of us, mixed, not more than $x per head.

                                  but of course 20/20 vision ..............

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: smartie

                                    Maybe it's just me, but how in the heck does a half boat of sashimi stuff 13 people?

                                    1. re: Rick

                                      seriously, this boat easily had at least 100 thick slices of sashimi on it. some people also had ordered miso soups and shumai as apps also. you can only take so many slabs of raw fish.

                                      1. re: rebs

                                        I believe there was a lot there, but half the boat is 50, divided by 13 isn't even 4 pieces of sashimi each. Maybe I'm just a big eater but 4 pieces of sashimi and I'm just getting started.

                                        1. re: Rick

                                          I'm with you, Rick. Amateurs...

                                  2. The one time I have disputed a service industry charge with a credit card company was when I was charged for something I never received: specifically, I put down a deposit on a four night stay (meals included) at an all-inclusive ski lodge. Several weeks before we were to go on our trip, we received a phone call that the lodge had burned to the ground! We called the lodge management to ask for a refund of our deposit, since obviously we wouldn't be able to stay at a burned down lodge, and it was refused (the lodge said they weren't going to refund any deposits till they settled with their insurance company, even though they were part of a HUGE conglomerate AND it was still within the time period that I could have cancelled without penalty (so of course I also tried to cancel but was told I couldn't: even though the lodge literally no longer exsisted!).

                                    The credit card company promptly gave me a credit refund for my deposit. Very, very different situation than yours. Good luck, but I doubt you will succeed. They did NOT pad your bill, you got what you paid for. It may not have been what you really wanted, but you did get it. I say live and learn.

                                    1. This is a mightly peculiar set of facts ... a more interesting case than the
                                      "The waiter spat on me, was I wrong to TipDing(tm) him?" ones ...

                                      You say the "pipeline" looked like:
                                      SASHIMI, NIGIRI, MAKI, UNKNOWN1, UNKNOWN2.

                                      Then you claim you were stuffed after .5 SASHIMI and desired no more
                                      food after either SASHIMI or SASHIMI+NIGIRI. Now even if you are willing
                                      to have consumed up to the end of the NIGIRI phase, that means you are
                                      claiming the resto was about 300% off in their food volume estimate.

                                      I'm not sure how that is possible unless there was either some pretty
                                      serious and deliberate fraud on the resto's side or some pretty serious
                                      miscommunication on your part (dinner vs snack). The additional twist
                                      that you are all restaurant professionals kinda pushes this into the Twilight Zone.

                                      Are you really saying his food volume was 3-5x more than what you wanted?
                                      And you are honestly considering portion of what a "reasonable sushi eater
                                      would order" ... as opposed to assuming the resto should have "read between
                                      the lines" and figured people coming in at 11:30 should have been looking for
                                      a .5 portion of a dinner hour meal [late night snack].

                                      So your bill came in at $100/person. How much were you expecting to spend?
                                      $30? $50?

                                      How many pieces per person were you envisioning? 5? 15? Did you really get
                                      15pc per person or 50?

                                      I suppose there is some chance, given the hours, the manager just told the kitchen
                                      to serve the "Remains of the Day" ... and it does seem like the manager was not
                                      very nice, but it's hard to figure out how he could have ended up +300% off on
                                      the food volume. If that really were true, I think you would have an easy court case,
                                      not that I'm suggesting you resort to that.

                                      If I tell a sommelier to "pick something to go with our entrees" and the my food cost
                                      is say 2x$40 = $80 [so we're not at The French Laundry] and he brings me a $200
                                      bottle ... either opened, or i didnt inquire as to the price ... I might be miffed but would
                                      probably "suck it up". If he brought over a $1000 bottle ... similarly opened before
                                      price check .... I think he will have taken advatage of the situation and I dunno how
                                      I would deal with that [although you can bet I wouldnt tip 20% on the wine :-)].
                                      But your's is a QUANTITY case, not a QAULITY case [sending you a lot of exotic $$$
                                      ingredients] ... so the analogy would be to the sommelier sending me and my date a
                                      double magnum ... and there is no way I'd pay for that.

                                      p.s. i note in passing i had maybe 16pieces of sushi today ... and that was a snack with
                                      a happy hour cocktail. You write "at least 100 pieces of sashimi ... only able to finish about
                                      half of it ... 13 people ... were stuffed ... can only take so many slabs of raw fish".
                                      This sounds a little incongruous. If your party was stuffed after 5pieces of sushi and
                                      the CRAZY MANAGER budget for x3-4 that much food, at 15pc/person, I'm with him
                                      on this one.

                                      What you are describing seems so extreme, somebody has to be right or wrong ...
                                      there doesnt seem to be a grey area here.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: psb

                                        If we look at it as somebody has to be right or wrong, then I think we'd be hard-pressed to decide one way or the other.

                                        As many posters have pointed out, there was miscommunication on both sides. The OP didn't exactly specify how much food they wanted, and of course, on the restaurant's side, they want to serve as much food as they can. Who's to say enough is enough?

                                        OP's party did decide to put a stop after the 2nd or 3rd boat, but as jfood says, if the order was already in the midst of being prepared, then it is pretty hard to put a stop to it.

                                        The restaurant is grasping at straws when they try to justify their actions by saying that the OP did make a reservation for 20 people. On the other hand, they did offer the OP a discount on the bill.

                                        If it were me, I would just let it go. I did get a proportionate amount of food for the price.

                                        1. re: jayes

                                          >If we look at it as somebody has to be right or wrong ...
                                          >
                                          my point is something like this:

                                          if say a used car is sold +/-10% of blue book value, that could reflect
                                          how much of a hurry a the buyer or seller was in, their negotiating
                                          ability etc. if something sells for 25% of blue book value, or 300% of
                                          blue book value, you start wondering if there is something more compelling
                                          going on ... tax scam, funny money xfer, the car was stolen, some major flaw
                                          was not disclosed, other title issues ... or on the other side, the car has some
                                          special collector value -- used to be owned by john voigt [hattip: seinfeld].

                                          more generally, an error of that magnitude needs and has an sui generis
                                          explanation.

                                          if you got 3-5x as much food as was reasonable, it seems like it was easy-to-believe
                                          "unjust enrichment" on part of the resto OR the OP clearly failed to communiate they
                                          just wanted a snack ... so i distinguish between an error [we wanted a snack and
                                          got a meal] and a misunderstanding [we had a $40 budget in mind, and it wound up
                                          around $60]. in the misunderstanding case, there might be "joint liability' and maybe
                                          you split the diff and get $10 off. if you issued the wrong instructions, you're on the
                                          hook 100%.

                                      2. rebs, please report back if you dispute this charge with you cc company and what they say. It's an interesting scenario...I'd be curious to know the upshot.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: gloriousfood

                                          I once worked for a Canadian credit card company and since Visa is international I'm going to make the assumption that the general rules for disputing charges are at least similar - Three common/main reasons for disputes:

                                          1- Service not provided - where a lodge burns to the ground for instance. I would have been able to accept a news story about the fire which would have been grounds to refund the client. Serving waaay too much food doesn't appear to qualify since service was rendered and as no clear guidelines were given as to how much sushi to serve the resto may have been overzealous but not fraudulent per se.

                                          2- Alteration of amount - common reason for tipping threads on this board and reason for the cc company to refund the client the difference between what they signed for and what was charged (a $99 bill padded with a 1 in front of it for instance) usually evident on the copy the cc company retrieves from the resto/bar.

                                          3- Card not present/forged signature/no signature - Visa knows whether a card was swiped through the machine or keyed in and if the client could not have authorized (being in a different city/country when your card was used to say buy gas in another city/country for instance.) we would refund the client.

                                          Because cc companies need to investigate, disputes can take a minimum 30-60 days to process depending on the nature of the complaint. Based on what I've read, rebs you would be much more successful discussing the situation with the manager, especially since you're a long time client and I expect you'd like to go back to that restaurant once the situation is resolved. Let us know how things turn out.

                                        2. hi everyone! OP here again...

                                          i've really enjoyed reading everyone's responses and appreciate the input. i've had a few days to go over the whole scenario in my head. as i've agreed before, $100 pp for the amount of food that we got was not a bad deal, but it's certainly not cheap nor what we were expecting to spend. the reason i was upset was that i felt that the restaurant took advantage of the situation when we asked for the chef to put something together and sent out more food than we could ever eat. yes, we left the door wide open for them to do so and that was our mistake. in an effort to understand the restaurant's side of the story i tried to mentally put myself in their shoes and came up with something. perhaps they were trying to hook us up and impress us by bringing out an enormous amount of food? maybe the real cost of the food was $150-$200 pp and they gave it to us for $100? we did mention that we were restaurant people, so maybe they were trying to do something nice by sending us out oversized portions? maybe it was a case where the management sent out what they thought would "wow" us, but instead it created the opposite impact for us. if that's the case then i feel kind of bad that we complained about it, but they never said anything to that effect at the end of the night. the only thing they said was that they were cooking for 18-20 people, as our reservation stated, even though we told them that it was only going to be 13 people once we sat down and when they started cooking for us. still, if it were my restaurant i think to avoid any discrepencies i would have had either the server or the manager specify how many pieces of sushi/how much $ per person before ringing in an order. but there are no actual rules about that and the restaurant just assumed we wanted to spend $100 and we had to deal with it.

                                          as i had said before, it is not an unusual for large groups to request that we ask the chef to pick a bunch of appetizers for their table to share. we will usually send out an appetizer for every 2 or three people. how we felt after the sushi debacle was comparable to this, but instead of the chef sending out 1 app for every 2 people, they sent out 4 of every app on the menu. then at the end of the night the restaurant just shrugs and says "oh well, you said we could just order for you". i've always felt that good service includes being able to read your customer and act accordingly. we had ordered appetizers and miso soups and one of us was pregnant and couldn't eat any raw (which i didn't mention before) so the amount of food sent out did not reflect that they were reading our table at all, nor were they checking in on us to see if we were getting full or were ready for more. the pacing of the food was such that the server most likely put in 3 seperate orders (a sashimi boat, a nigiri boat, and a maki boat) all at the same time, when our initial request was for the chef to put together something that included sashimi, nigiri and maki for us to share. we were envisioning one boat with a selection of sashimi, nigiri and maki. not 3 seperate boats. again, our fault as consumers for not being specific and their fault for not trying to be on the same page as their guests. we should have been specific and said ONE boat that included sashimi, nigiri, and maki.

                                          oh, well live and learn. at least it was a tasty mistake. i think i've fulfilled my mercury quota for the month after this one!

                                          oh, and about the C.C. dispute, we're not even going to bother. i don't think we have a case, nor do i have the energy to want to deal with it...

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: rebs

                                            rebs,

                                            very nice self reflective post and extremely honest. jfood really liked the mercury comment as well.

                                            it's almost like a dream of jfood's to have more good sushi placed in front of him. It only happened once when four of seven people at a high-end sushi lunch were called back to the office right before the boats docked. And it took almost an hour for the three remainders to finish. It was a memorable meal and as jfood always tells his wife, "the story itself is worth the $100."

                                            thanks for the post and sharing the trials

                                            1. re: rebs

                                              rebs
                                              Now you know why, in my posting of 12/2 07 at 1;28PM I asked you to kindly fill us in on the details and why I responded as I did at 3:45 pm the same day.

                                              I think as you have continued to post, more and more has been established, EG: That your party ordered additional apps and that one person was unable to eat raw fish, effectively taking the number of Diners down to 12.. The additional apps may somewhat explain why your group was satisfied with one boat of food. I think you are to be applauded for being so honest about your part of the situation. I think what you have said in several posts is really the source of your disappointment and frustration: That you thought another kitchen would operate in the common sensical way that your staff operates. I also mentioned in my previous post that I thought perhaps the staff was trying to go "all out" for a group of fellow restaurant professionals. Now that I realize there were additionally ordered apps on the bill, the cost seems even more reasonable. It could have been a lot worse: You could have been at a very high end restaurant and the bill could have been astronomical.
                                              I think you are wise to chalk it up to a life lesson and let go at that. There are no 'Bad Guys" here, just some unmet expectations and miscommunications. The shame here is that it caused your evening out with your coworkers and friends, to end on a bad note.

                                              1. re: Tay

                                                Actually, Tay, after hearing the whole story, I am offended that we, fellow CHers, and patrons, as well as law abiding consumers were asked on how to word something to get a Credit Card Company to reneg on a payment for goods received.

                                                The original post gave a clue, by the use of "feel" that (we) should not pay, as well as the never defined "dissatisfied" or 'disastrous'. My initial reaction was correct, without seeing all the details.

                                                1. re: Cathy

                                                  uh, ok. my intent was not to offend, so if you were then i'm sorry. the only reason why i asked in the first place is because of a previous thread where someone was dissatisfied with their experience and another (law abiding) chowhounder replied how they would have handled the situation, which included stopping payment with their credit card company. i saw that and said to myself "whoa, you can do that?" so i started this thread to get more information (i.e. what kind of situation qualifies for a stop payment, does anyone have any experience doing it, and how do i go about doing it?)

                                                  as the thread went on, and from reading replies, i realized that while the restaurant made mistakes, so did we as a group and that we'll have to chalk it up to an expensive and delicious learning experience. i went from feeling completely and utterly ripped off to the point that i felt i should get my money back, to now feeling silly and wiser with lessons on what to do (and not do) when dining out with a group.

                                                  when i started the thread i thought i was in the right and i was trying to find out if i was indeed able to (legally) stop payment and how to go about it. so if you took that in the wrong way, i'm sorry and i did not mean to offend. i'll also assume that you are just trying to stand up for fellow law abiding chowhounders so i won't be offended by your remarks in that you, someone who doesn't even know me, would think that i am anything less than a law abiding chowhounder myself.

                                                    1. re: rebs

                                                      My reply above was specific to the title of your post, i.e. "stopping" payment with a credit card company, than to your real issue that has been sufficiently examined here.
                                                      The idea that one can "stop" payment on a credit card transaction is not quite accurate. You can notify your credit card issuer that you dispute a recent charge. The company will actually assign a real person to sleuth out the equity of the matter, and will interview you by phone to obtain your version of the facts, and will then do the same with the vendor with which the card company has a business relationship. Upon lodging a protest, your account is credited back for the disputed amount until a more formal resolution has been determined. They will notify you by mail.
                                                      My protests have included simple errors like 4 nights of charges for a 3 night stay, grayer area stuff like charges for pre-existing damage to a rental car (a common one in central america) to out and out fraud. I have prevailed with each and every dispute, and I have no doubt that my history of having the moral high ground helps me get fair consideration.
                                                      More pertinent to your sushi saga, a few years ago I dined alone at a name brand sushi restauraunt in Las Vegas, and my chef asked me what types I like. I uttered a long list, thinking this was the first step toward matching my preferences with what was currently available. A while later, ALL of it arrived. It could have fed 3 people. With one Kirin, I got zapped for about $200. Darn good, but a communication misfire.