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WARNING: Restaurant.com

I purchased two coupons from this site for a trip to Vegas.

A month later a $14.95 charge appears on my CC from "Shopping Essentials". An hour later, via Chase M/C, they connect me with a gentleman who indicates my recurring subscription charges began after a 30 day free trial initiated via my dealings with Restaurant.com. He agrees to cancel my account and credit the $14.95.

I may have tripped the "subscription" inadvertantly. It would be a first in my frequent internet purchases or it may have been the "fly in the ointment". Ripoffreport.com has dozens of similar complaints.

Food for thought. My Restaurant.com days are over.

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  1. I purchased something through them last fall for a restaurant in Vegas and was not charged extra. I wonder if this is something new they're doing. I hope not or else I won't be purchasing from them again either.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PHX Becky

      Here's a link (long) that explains the practices employed by Shopping Essentials and tacitly endorsed by host sites.


    2. does anyone know if this is still happening? i wanted to try this restaurant.com.....
      ooooh, so sad, it IS still happening. darn it! http://www.ripoffreport.com/searchres...

      6 Replies
      1. re: alkapal

        I've used Restaurant.com several times and never had any extra charges.

          1. re: alkapal

            You should be fine as long as you don't click on any of the offers after you have already entered your CC info and purchased your gift certificate.

            I bought a coupon in mid-December of 08 and after I had entered my CC info there is an ad or promo or something for a free gift or discount or something. I stupidly clicked on it, then I accepted something that asked if I wanted to proceed (which I should have realized was a bad sign, but I wasn't really paying attention) and then I was directed to a screen that said I had been enrolled and my card would be charged monthly after a month long free trial period. It was pretty clear right away I had stupidly fell for the trick.

            To be fair to the company, I did receive an email almost immediately that said I had been enrolled in their program and my CC would be charged on a specified date in January. They included a link and phone number to call and cancel. I called the number, spoke to a customer service rep who immediately canceled my subscription and I received an email within a minute confirming the cancellation.

            It is clearly shady that they don't tell you before you accept the 'special offer' that the CC info you provided to restaurant.com will automatically be transfered to the other company, but it just proves that special offers are often too good to be true.

            I think you'll be fine as long as you don't fall for the bait. I would have no reservations about using restaurant.com again, it was my stupid mistake to be accepting the special offers.

            EDIT: I just checked out the link you provided and I might have clicked the survey to win a free prize. I don't really remember what the offer was, just don't click anything!

            1. re: pollymerase

              polly, i think you just helped me a great bit! bless you, girl!

              1. re: alkapal

                I'm just glad my dumb (albeit ultimately harmless) mistake can help someone else!

          2. Having been a restaurant.com user for some time now, with no issues. I would respectfully add that errors are often human, not the company out to get us. A simple click of curiosity can wind up sending you and your information elsewhere. When in doubt, read and re-read the entire website and/or order page before hitting any submission buttons. If the company is reputable you can call them or email them and receive an immediate reply to your "human" error for immediate correction.

            Sure there are scams and when these scammers trick us its annoying as hell but more times than not, we just clicked the mouse one too many times.

            1. It's like Buying Money!!

              I have used restaurant.com for at least 8 years; any new city I am going to visit requires a quick browse of their offerings.

              Absolutely love and trust the site.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Kris in Beijing

                me too! I've used them for a few years now. I usually wait until they have a promo going on, so I can get them for anywhere from 50-80% off. The certificates are good for a year, so if I've gotten a deal and don't end up using it, or the restaurant has "disappeared", I'm out only a few dollars.

                1. re: moma1bud

                  I have tried several times to use their service, but when I scan the list of restaurants, I have yet to find one that I would consider going to. Only restaurants that are doing poorly would subscribe to such a service, and they are obviously doing poorly for a reason. I've pretty much given up on restaurant.com.

                  1. re: terrystu

                    Oh my what a generalization, terrystu. Although I would agree, and my experience with this online service is not perfect, that some cities offer less options than others, I've had a number of surprise dining finds using Restaurant.com while traveling to a city I am not familiar with. I've taken my share of chances. To suggest that only restaurants that are doing poorly would offer a discount just isn't fair or true. But, to each their own.

                    1. re: terrystu

                      looking at the list for around arlington, virginia, there are several well-regarded places on the list.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        I used to live in arlington, and i'm going back for a trip soon, what sorts of places are on there? TECC? lol

                        1. re: kubasd

                          i'm not getting it.... what's TECC?
                          and.... you just type in arlington, virginia (or a zip code?) to find out the listings.

                      2. re: terrystu

                        there are a few places here in austin that have a great chow-proval so i think it just depends on where you are...

                        1. re: dinaofdoom

                          I've also seen a restaurant do coupons until they catch on and then drop out of the program. If I had a new place I would think it was a great way to get attention and attract new customers.

                          1. re: BeeZee

                            yeah, that has definitely happened her in austin (and dammit, i didn't get the discounts in time! haha).
                            good marketing, though, you have to admit.

                  2. Just purchased $75 worth of gift certificates to one of my fav restaurants for $6 and had no problems. I'm going to enjoy a great meal tonight!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pollymerase

                      i just bought some certs for some places i want to try (and that a lot of people on the austin board have recommended) and if anything go wrong, i will definitely post about it :-)

                      1. re: pollymerase

                        i did the same this past weekend, what a great promotion! $25 certificate for $2! Alas, the promo expired this past Sunday. Should've bought more than 3. Well, at least I've got 3 new-to-me restaurants to try out in the next coupla weekends.

                        1. re: pushslice

                          yeah, that's why i decided to just do it-- at that price, you really can't go wrong.

                          1. re: pushslice

                            They run those 80 percent off promotions pretty frequently (once a month, maybe?). Once they've got your email address you'll be inundated with emails for them promotions, so you can jump on them next time.

                            The site will not sign you up for anything without your knowledge -- you just have to actually pay attention to what extra "free" offers you click on.

                        2. Any new Coupon codes known yet?
                          The last one I had expired.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: gordeaux

                            the 80% ran out over the weekend but right now i am staring at a 60% off email.
                            GREEN runs til 03/23.

                            1. re: gordeaux

                              New code received today:

                              70% off "FEAST" is good until April 20th

                            2. I agree with HillJ. Errors are often human errors. However, because the button to continue or no thanks to the "Shopping Essentials" offer is a little hard to find, it is a gimick. You have to be careful and read through all the marketing and legal words. I almost clicked on it even though I've seen this before.

                              I just used restaurant.com yesterday for the 1st time and got a great offer. $4 for each $25 certificate. Speaking of human errors, I didn't read all the details carefully, thinking I could use 2 $25 certificates at once. After I printed out the coupon, I realized I will have to spend $50 at the restaurant and only allow to use 1 coupon. That's ok, still a great deal though. I just have to read the fine lines better next time.

                              As for "Shopping Essentials", I've actually signed up with them via Vistaprints.com. It's actually not a bad deal if you understand what they're trying to do. You get to buy $25 gift cards at 20% off. So you only pay $20 for every $25 gift cards you buy. The stores on their list are all the common stores you would normally shop at such as Gap, Macy's, Target, etc. A great time to use this is during Christmas time for gift shopping or gift giving. Or you can buy up as much gift cards as you can afford to pay off and cancel the membership within 30 days and not get charged the monthly fee.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: susu1105

                                i've used restaurant.com a few times in the past few months and have nothing but great experiences. I too almost fell for the gimmick, but I did read the fine print and cancelled (ACTUALLY, I CLOSED THE WHOLE WINDOW AND STARTED AGAIN FROM THE BEGINNING).

                                Great stroy: I bought a $25 gift certificate for an expensive RI restaurant for $2.00. My dining companion and I went the other night and ordered two dinners for $32 each plus a drink each and two coffees. Before the waiter brought the bill, I took out the $25 certificate for him to deduct. He asked "Is that from restaurant.com?" I answered yes, and he took it. When I got the bill, he deducted one whole dinner off the menu ($32), not just $25!

                                BEST $2 I ever spent!

                              2. not sure if anyone is interested but...
                                i got an 80% off code via email.
                                it's LUCKY and good only for 4 days.
                                have fun.

                                  1. re: alkapal

                                    Current offer is: Save 60% now and get $25 Gift Certificates for only $4. Plus, for a limited-time, get a FREE $10 Restaurant.com Gift Certificate
                                    with every order! Discount code: TABLE (Good through 5/21)

                                    They send me offers about every three days. As someone noted above, the 80 percent off ones usually come at the end of the month (last one I got was April 27).

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Google for a code, you can get them for almost anything on line. I love restaurant.com,

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        The end-of-the-month 80 percent off discount hit the box today: code SPECIAL

                                        Good through the end of the day Monday.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          Thanks so much, Ruth. Hope you have a nice Memorial Day weekend.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              Thanks for the tip....................
                                              I was able to get $25 certificates for St Tropez Bistro in Fairfield, CT (mt wife's favorite place) for $2 each with the 80% off special

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                NEW 80 percent off code: PRESENT -- good through 6/15!

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  Restaurant.com sent me the email earlier this afternoon and I made several purchases.

                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                End of June 80 percent off code: DISH -- good through 6/25.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  I just ordered a bunch of coupons yesterday, using the code DISH. Worked like a charm. I thought I'd get some coupons for my son, who lives about an hour away. I searched his zip, came up with some good places, and submitted my order. Afterwards, I decided to go to the website of one of the places, and discovered that it was closing its doors for good this coming weekend. I called the CS number on restaurant.com, told them my problem, and was immediately given a refund AND a "gift certificate" number fo another $25 coupon to the resto of my choice. They were aware of the closing, but had not had a chance to pull the listing.

                                                  1. re: PattiCakes

                                                    Once a restaurant I'd bought a gift certificate to dropped out of the program, and they notified me by email and made a similar offer. Very good customer service, IMHO.

                                                    Anyway, once you buy from them you'll get regular emails from them with the current offer codes. Just remember unless you're going to use it right away that they run the 80 percent off promotion at least once a month (usually at the end of the month).

                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                      I have noticed, however, that by the end of the month, many of the more popular restos have certificates that are "out of stock".

                                                      FYI, my sister got "the code" from an employee discount service that her company uses. If anyone is interested, it's pretty cool, is free, requires NO employer intervention, and is applicable for ERs with 85 or more EEs. If interested, you can google working advantage. They have other food-related deals.

                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    thanks ruth...jfood just bought 2. $4...great deal

                                              3. Maybe you clicked on other offer. Easy mistake. I have had no problems with restaurant.com.