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Bill dispute etiquette

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beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 10:49 AM

I was at a restaurant and I had a price disagreement with the owner. He was trying to charge me $27 but the bill should have only been $25.

I didn’t want to make a scene so I paid the $27, but could I have just paid the $25? Would that have been acceptable? Or would he have called the cops or something?

What should I do in these situations in the future, should they come up.

This was a small restaurant, owned and run by the same guy.

Thank you all

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  1. OnDaGo RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 11:04 AM

    What was the dispute? was the price on the menu $25 and he charged you $27 or was it a special where they just told you the price?

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    1. re: OnDaGo
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      beaver479 RE: OnDaGo Sep 17, 2009 11:13 AM

      It dealt with the discrepancy of a coupon. I won’t bore you with specifics, but they said the coupon was worth $3 where it really was worth $5

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      1. re: beaver479
        OnDaGo RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 11:33 AM

        Well it is the specifics that matter in this case.. If you are right then they cannot do anything but if they are right then you have to pay...

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        1. re: OnDaGo
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          beaver479 RE: OnDaGo Sep 17, 2009 12:01 PM

          Ok. I can give specifics if you would like.

          I would like to point out that I rounded my numbers for my post, to make it simpler on you all and not have to type things like $25.63, etc.

          I had a coupon for $3 off if I spent X amount of dollars. When I went to ask for my $3 off, the owner told me that it comes off the grand total. However, it should have come off the pre-tax total. Hence, when factoring the difference out for tax, I paid $2 more than I should have.

          He was 100% wrong but I didn’t want to start up and cause a scene. However, I am curious should this ever happen again how I should handle it. Could I have insisted and just paid the lesser amount?

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          1. re: beaver479
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            DeppityDawg RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 12:12 PM

            Your tax is 66%? Now that's what I call socialism.

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            1. re: DeppityDawg
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              beaver479 RE: DeppityDawg Sep 17, 2009 12:19 PM

              lol.

              No. I just simplified the numbers.

              The actual numbers were:

              Spend 25 or more and get 10 off.

              We spent 26.80 x 13% = 30.28 – 10 = 20.28 (which is what he insisted I pay)

              It should have been 26.80 – 10 = 16.80 x 13% = 18.98

              That means I overpaid by 1.30

              Could I have refused to pay that 1.30?

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            2. re: beaver479
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              jenhen2 RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 12:22 PM

              I don't think you need to cause a scene to make your point. You can have a low-volume conversation at your table or the cash register where you point out what the coupon says. If it's unclear and you're going to have an actual dispute, then the owner probably wasn't 100% wrong, and you can agree to disagree. Although I'm sure you could technically leave paying $25, I myself would opt to pay the $27 and then just decide whether I'll go back in the future. Also, it's usually a good idea to bring up the coupon before the bill comes so this kind of misunderstanding doesn't occur.

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              1. re: jenhen2
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                beaver479 RE: jenhen2 Sep 17, 2009 12:36 PM

                Thanks Jen.

                The owner flat out lied to me and claimed the coupon included tax. However, after I got home I looked into this and I found on the CRA’s website that for a coupon to include tax, it must state on the coupon that tax is part of the coupon. This coupon did not, hence I am 100% right.

                We did get into an argument but then I just paid the full amount he wanted me to pay, and then left.

                I am just upset over the principle of the matter and was just wondering what other members thought.

                Next time though I think I would only pay the 25 and not 27. Just wanted to know what I am allowed to do vs. what others would do.

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                1. re: beaver479
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                  akq RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 01:27 PM

                  I'd explain (politely, quietly) my point and listen to his. Try to reason with him a bit. If he's not going to budge, your choices are either to pay what he is charging or cancel the transaction. You don't have the option of paying what you think is right and demanding the food. In a case like this, the cops aren't going to help you. If anything, they would have told you to pay the guy or leave.

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                  1. re: akq
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                    beaver479 RE: akq Sep 17, 2009 01:40 PM

                    Thank you akq. However, this was after I had already eaten the food. So I could not cancel the transaction. And I did attempt to talk polity at first, he refused to budge.

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                    1. re: akq
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                      Jadelise RE: akq Sep 17, 2009 01:43 PM

                      If you are this aggravated about $1.30, just don't go back, and let them know why. There must be many other good restaurants in this economy willing to accomodate a customer to keep their business. I recently had a dispute situation, where I authorized a charge of $70.00 for dinner plus tip. When I checked my charge account online, I saw I has been charged $73.15. When I called to complain I was told if THEY forget to add an item to your bill (like a soda refill), they will arbitrarily increase the charge amount you have authorized on your credit card, to pay themselves AFTERWARD for THEIR mistake. AND this is on top of a generous tip, and without notifying me (the cardholder). I was further told that I should have noticed the omission on my bill, and that it was too late (FOUR days later), to get a credit back to my account. What to do in this situation, other than to withhold your business?

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                      1. re: Jadelise
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                        beaver479 RE: Jadelise Sep 17, 2009 01:52 PM

                        Thanks for your response Jadelise.

                        First, I have no intention of giving them my business again. What I am pissed about is I just paid the increase instead of making a stand. And I also just wish to know if I could have paid the lesser amount.

                        Second, what happened to you sucks. I would call your credit card company and tell them you never authorized the payment. They are pretty good at then dealing with the restaurant or any company in those situations. Just call your company, say the bill was for 70 and not 73.15, and they will take care of it.

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                    2. re: beaver479
                      OnDaGo RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 01:55 PM

                      In a mom and pop place like you described I doubt they review the CRA rules and regulations when printing a coupon... Really for $1.30 you caused that much havoc and I bet you did not tip after? Why bother, why not just tip 1.30 less on the original bill and not get anyones blood pressure up.

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                      1. re: OnDaGo
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                        beaver479 RE: OnDaGo Sep 17, 2009 01:57 PM

                        Hi OnDaGo.

                        Thanks for your response.

                        I agree with you, I doubt they reviewed the CRA rules. He clearly was lying to me.

                        And despite how upset I was at the owner/manager, I did not stiff the excellent waitress of a tip.

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                        1. re: beaver479
                          iluvtennis RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 02:28 PM

                          Good call on your decision to tip. I don't think it would have been right to penalize the waitress when she had nothing to do with the issue.

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                        2. re: OnDaGo
                          invinotheresverde RE: OnDaGo Sep 17, 2009 03:17 PM

                          Why would you stiff the waitress over the owner's mistake?

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                          1. re: OnDaGo
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                            mjhals RE: OnDaGo Sep 17, 2009 04:37 PM

                            As others have mentioned, I think of all the options, OnDaGo's is the absolute worst. Beaver was 100% right in not attempting to resolve the discrepancy by taking it out of the tip. And I think the actual amount is beside the point, Beaver doesn't seem like he's causing havoc either now or then. Just coming to chowhound for some venting and advice for the future. Stiffing the waitperson? now that would get the blood pressure up.

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                            1. re: mjhals
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                              beaver479 RE: mjhals Sep 18, 2009 11:25 AM

                              Thanks mjhals

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                            2. re: OnDaGo
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                              evewitch RE: OnDaGo Sep 17, 2009 06:25 PM

                              Because the tip is outside of this and irrelevant. The owner/manager is the opposite party, not the waitress. Why would you penalize the wait staff for this??

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                              1. re: evewitch
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                                hilltowner RE: evewitch Sep 17, 2009 11:24 PM

                                Um, the OP DID NOT stiff the waitstaff. He/she tipped her accordingly for her good service.

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                                1. re: hilltowner
                                  alanbarnes RE: hilltowner Sep 18, 2009 07:10 AM

                                  Um, evewich was responding to OnDaGo, who specifically suggested stiffing the waitstaff.

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                                  1. re: alanbarnes
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                                    hilltowner RE: alanbarnes Sep 21, 2009 10:54 PM

                                    OK, sorry. Sometimes these threads get a little bit messed up with misinformation. I thought this was one of those threads.

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                                  2. re: hilltowner
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                                    beaver479 RE: hilltowner Sep 18, 2009 11:26 AM

                                    Indeed I did. Besides, my thinking is why punish her for what her boss/owner did to me.

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                          2. re: beaver479
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                            Brandon Nelson RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 04:59 PM

                            He isn't wrong at all...

                            Sales tax is required (at least in California) on ALL taxable sales. Coupon contracts, deep in the fine print, require the purchaser to pay that sales tax.

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                    3. Veggo RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 01:54 PM

                      Can I mail you two dollars and allow this nonsense to go away?

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                      1. re: Veggo
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                        beaver479 RE: Veggo Sep 17, 2009 01:58 PM

                        lol.

                        I was just curious about what I can do in the future. This time it was $2..next time it could be $20

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                        1. re: beaver479
                          Servorg RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 02:10 PM

                          Life is a sliding scale. Two cents it passes without question.

                          Twenty cents I might mention to the waitress and tell her to keep the difference (have done this with change that was off and simply told the waitress "Hey, there's a little more that you can get on top of the tip I left on the table if you look at the check.")

                          Two dollars, if I am alone or with my wife I'm going to make a stand. If I am on a dinner with friends probably will let it go if mentioning it doesn't get it resolved without much angst.

                          Twenty dollars they had better "man up" because the owner/manager is going to be wishing he wore his kevlar jockstrap to work that night.

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                          1. re: beaver479
                            Veggo RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 02:14 PM

                            1) For starters, know what you are getting, and know what you are paying for it. That is the basis of an oral contract. Ask questions, get confirmation. No surprises.
                            2) Let the little s**t go.
                            3) Remember the lyrics of Mark Knopfler, "We're a long way from home, let's just pay the man and go".

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                            1. re: beaver479
                              Scargod RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 06:28 PM

                              WOW! Inflation is the name of this thread! If you won't take Veggo's $2 ($1.87 Canadian, sorry!), can I give you the $20 to go away?
                              It's costing us more in global warming to have this thread...

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                            purple bot RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 02:49 PM

                            After reading through the details, here's my take: He taxed the full amount of your bill (before deducting the coupon) because he is legally obligated to collect (and then pay) taxes on the full amount, regardless of how much he later deducts. If the total bill is $20 before your coupon comes into play, then he has to pay (and collect) on $20, not the $17 that your total would be after the coupon. If he applies the coupon, making your bill $17 and then adding the tax (on $17) he is shorting himself, because he has to pay taxes on $20. You should have been taxed on the full amount, then had your $3 deducted, which is how it's usually done with any kind of coupon. Taxes apply to the full amount.

                            Now, move on. If this is the worst thing that happens to you, beaver, you are one very lucky man/gal.

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                            1. re: purple bot
                              Servorg RE: purple bot Sep 17, 2009 03:23 PM

                              The restaurant would only be obligated to collect taxes on the total of their actual sales (not projected sales based on menu prices). So if the restaurant charged less for an item the tax would be less too (since the state doesn't set the price of the meal, but rather the restaurant does).

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                              1. re: Servorg
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                                beaver479 RE: Servorg Sep 18, 2009 11:27 AM

                                I agree with yuo 100% Servorg. And after revieing the tax laws, I now have even more proof besides my and your word.

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                              2. re: purple bot
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                                akq RE: purple bot Sep 18, 2009 12:49 PM

                                This really depends on the particularities of the tax laws in that jurisdiction. Some sales taxes are based on the actual selling price (net of discount). Other taxes (VAT?) are on the fair market value of the goods sold, which is usually the selling price (presumption in favor of selling price = FMV) but not always, and if there's a coupon involved, the fair market value on which the tax is based may be the undiscounted price. There's no particular logic in it and I am not familiar with the particular tax laws in OP's jurisdiction, so who knows.

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                                1. re: akq
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                                  beaver479 RE: akq Sep 21, 2009 02:17 PM

                                  I am in Ontario, Canada. Hence I consulted both GST and RST.

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                                2roadsdiverge RE: beaver479 Sep 17, 2009 02:56 PM

                                A simple comment to the manager is all I would do:

                                "You just lost all of my future business over $1.30. Have a good night."

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                                1. re: alanbarnes
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                                  hsk RE: alanbarnes Sep 17, 2009 08:10 PM

                                  LOL!! Absolutely agree. With the added benefit that other diners don't have to listen to the bellyaching at the next table.

                                  Really, it depends on what the coupon said ($10 off or $10 off pre-tax bill) - but for $1.30 who cares. I doubt there could be a $20 dispute - I can't imagine a restaurant giving a $154 discount with a coupon.

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                                  1. re: 2roadsdiverge
                                    rockandroller1 RE: 2roadsdiverge Sep 18, 2009 08:07 AM

                                    Ditto, except I'd have said it this way, "If you're willing to lose my business, plus all the business of my friends and family who rely on me for restaurant recommendations, I'll pay the $1.30." And he would have said yes and you would have paid and then not only YOU never go back, but nobody you know goes there either (or that they know, or that their friends know, and so on).

                                    There's nothing else you could have done. He wasn't going to budge and you can't win the argument with him, either between the 2 of you or if it got to the point of him calling the cops. Pay, move on, and don't patronize their business again.

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                                    1. re: rockandroller1
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                                      beaver479 RE: rockandroller1 Sep 18, 2009 11:28 AM

                                      So you would have just paid the money and not gone back?

                                      I think next time, I will take a firm stand.

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                                      1. re: beaver479
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                                        KTinNYC RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 03:31 PM

                                        You're going to take a firm stand on $1.30? How much is your time worth to you? Even if this took 5 minutes to resolve it would not be worth it to recoup the $1.30. Pay the extra $1.30 and get on with your life.

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                                        1. re: KTinNYC
                                          c oliver RE: KTinNYC Sep 18, 2009 04:26 PM

                                          I'm with you KT. I wouldnt even say I'd never go back. Sheesh, it's $1.30. Sheesh.

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                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            Veggo RE: c oliver Sep 18, 2009 04:39 PM

                                            But it's the principle. To borrow from Senator Byrd from WV, I wish the combatants lived in the age when conflict was satisfied with dueling pistols.

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                                            1. re: Veggo
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                                              beaver479 RE: Veggo Sep 21, 2009 02:19 PM

                                              I concur!!!!

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                                        2. re: beaver479
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                                          soupkitten RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 06:50 PM

                                          seems like you got around 40% off of your restaurant meal, due to the owner's coupon. he's giving out discounts to encourage customers to come in-- what a guy. 40% off a restaurant meal is significant savings. why quibble about whether you get a 40% discount or a 38% discount? you're still coming out quite well in the transaction. you've mentioned that the service was excellent at this place, so the only question left should be: was the food good? because if it was, you got a great deal! if the food wasn't good, it didn't cost you much to find that out. a buck thirty gets you what-- a gas station soda, and you want to "take a firm stand?" i assume make a huge scene? what complete and utter nonsense.

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                                          1. re: soupkitten
                                            c oliver RE: soupkitten Sep 18, 2009 06:55 PM

                                            Excellent point, soupkitten.

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                                            1. re: soupkitten
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                                              beaver479 RE: soupkitten Sep 21, 2009 02:21 PM

                                              It's not the 1.30. As Veggo has said, its the principle. If I get a coupon for 10 dollars, I expect to get the full value.

                                              40%, or whatever the percent is does not matter. Had I know this restaureant woudl cheat me...I wuold have used another coupon and gone somewhere else.

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                                              1. re: beaver479
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                                                KTinNYC RE: beaver479 Sep 21, 2009 04:25 PM

                                                IMO, when ever I hear someone say "It's the principle" when it comes to money I always suspect it's about the money.

                                                This isn't a civil rights or discrimination issue. It's about $1.30 between you and a small business.

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                                            2. re: beaver479
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                                              irishnyc RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 08:30 PM

                                              Taking a firm stand, reviewing tax law, replying to this thread over and over again... all for $1.30? You've wasted more than $1.30 worth of your life just thinking about this.

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                                              1. re: irishnyc
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                                                beaver479 RE: irishnyc Sep 21, 2009 02:19 PM

                                                you make the assumption that i would otherwise be doing something else. I have been pursuing this in my free time.

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                                          rich in stl RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 04:50 PM

                                          You are so upset over less than $2?? OMG wait until you REALLY get cheated!

                                          BTW change your name - I like Beavers and they are smart animals - the engineers of the animal world - I wear a ring with a beaver on it.

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                                          1. re: rich in stl
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                                            beaver479 RE: rich in stl Sep 21, 2009 02:21 PM

                                            lol

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                                            Brandon Nelson RE: beaver479 Sep 18, 2009 05:10 PM

                                            You are completely in the wrong here...

                                            Of course it varies from state to state, but in California you were charged correctly. California considers a coupon situation a "sale" not a "comp" (which is a tax write off). The state board of equalization requires taxes to be paid on the actual cash value of the item.

                                            I have seen endless surprised looks when a customer thinks they are getting a taxable item for the grand total of $0.00, when they are given the total of the sales tax they are still obligated to pay.

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                                            1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                              c oliver RE: Brandon Nelson Sep 18, 2009 05:23 PM

                                              This is OPs very first post so we have no idea where h/she lives. I'm guessing NOT in the US since the rate was something like 13%. Even CA isn't THAT high - yet :)

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                                              1. re: c oliver
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                                                DeppityDawg RE: c oliver Sep 18, 2009 05:59 PM

                                                I think we have a pretty good idea OP lives in the _other_ CA (the one with the Queen, and the beavers), because he/she mentioned the CRA, and three of the Atlantic provinces have a 13% HST… In which case, the guidelines about taxing coupons are explained here:
                                                http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/gm/b-0...

                                                And we'd need to know more about the coupon to decide who was right and who was wrong. Does anyone want to know more about the coupon to decide who was right and who was wrong?

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                                                1. re: DeppityDawg
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                                                  Brandon Nelson RE: DeppityDawg Sep 18, 2009 07:01 PM

                                                  The type and issuer of the coupon is relevant.

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                                              2. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                Servorg RE: Brandon Nelson Sep 18, 2009 08:04 PM

                                                When we use a coupon out of the Sunday LA Times (usually for breakfast) the restaurant always adjusts (lowers) the pretax total first, and then they recalculate the (lower) tax on the (lower) recalculated total. I think that was the OP's point. That the money off should have been taken of the pretax portion of the check and then the new (lesser) tax added on. Whether any of us think this amount of money is worth discussing is tangential to the question of how the discount was applied in this case. As I posted elsewhere in this thread, the question of how much is worth raising a stink about varies by person and their financial circumstances and their intrinsic values about issues such as this.

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                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  Scargod RE: Servorg Sep 19, 2009 03:23 AM

                                                  I think you are absolutely right about what the proprietor should have done.

                                                  I think the little Mom and Pop place had little to gain by doing it the way they did and probably didn't mean to aleinate a (ostensibly), new customer.
                                                  Seems Beaver479 might be embarrassed by the measly $1.30 amount when they got $8.70 off a cheap meal. They still got a huge amount off a $13.40 per person meal.
                                                  It took a while to get it out of him/her how much it really was. Do we have all the facts, even now? "I didn’t want to make a scene so I paid the $27" evolved into "We did get into an argument" (and actually paid $20.28). $3 off became $10 off. A $2 discrepancy became $1.30. (At least I wasn't bored with the facts.)
                                                  We were asked what he/she should do the next time. I think they should slink away realizing that many, if not most, would not make a fuss over next to nothing. Essentially they have looked the gift horse in the mouth.

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                                                  1. re: Scargod
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                                                    beaver479 RE: Scargod Sep 21, 2009 02:25 PM

                                                    First of all Scargod, I am NOT embarrassed.

                                                    And yes, you do have all the facts. The reason I tried ti simplify the numbers at the beginnnig, was just that, to simply the situation and ask a question, regardless of the $$$ amount.

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                                                    1. re: beaver479
                                                      Scargod RE: beaver479 Sep 21, 2009 05:17 PM

                                                      Seems you are unfazed by the comments. Makes me wonder why you bothered to ask this question in the first place.
                                                      Are we dullards that need simplification of facts? Why all the inconsistencies? You have ignored that point. Are they are not relevant based on our level of intelligence?

                                                      You can beat your chest in indignation all you want over $1.30. The TINY amount of money IS relevant to the situation and how you dealt with it. Just my two cents.

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                                                  2. re: Servorg
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                                                    Brandon Nelson RE: Servorg Sep 21, 2009 04:07 PM

                                                    I was clear about the original post. I am also correct, in regards to the situation as it might pertain to California. The only pertinent detail that wasn't stated up fron was whether the coupon was "manufacturer" or "store" issued, as that has impact on the situation.

                                                    I have worked in an industry that has the same sales tax situations. I have also filed a sales tax statement with the CSBOE since 1995, because I also have a sales permit.

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                                                  3. re: Brandon Nelson
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                                                    beaver479 RE: Brandon Nelson Sep 21, 2009 02:22 PM

                                                    Thank you for your response Brandon. But I live in Ontario, Canada...our tax laws are different.

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                                                    1. re: beaver479
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                                                      Brandon Nelson RE: beaver479 Sep 21, 2009 04:17 PM

                                                      http://www.rev.gov.on.ca/en/guides/rs...

                                                      When handling "manufacturer coupons" it appears the same set of circumstances applies to you in Ontario as it does to me in California.

                                                      From the Ontario Ministry of Revenue web sight;

                                                      When a retailer accepts a manufacturer's discount coupon on a taxable purchase, RST is payable by the customer on the full selling price before deducting the value of the coupon. In this case, the retailer has not lowered the price; rather, another party (the manufacturer) has paid part of the purchase price on behalf of the customer. The following is an example of how the RST is to be applied when the selling price is GST-extra or GST-included.

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                                                      1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                        Servorg RE: Brandon Nelson Sep 21, 2009 04:53 PM

                                                        Manufacturer's coupons are handled this way in California, but I doubt very strongly that this was a manufacturer's coupon being used by the OP, but rather this was a merchant issued coupon. Most manufacturer's coupon are for things like grocery items or something from a national chain in which the merchant is getting reimbursed by the corporate entity for the difference between the marked selling price and discounted coupon price.

                                                        Here is the applicable information for California.

                                                        http://www.boe.ca.gov/pdf/pub113.pdf

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                                                        1. re: Servorg
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                                                          Brandon Nelson RE: Servorg Sep 23, 2009 08:34 PM

                                                          Actually a "manufacturer's coupons" is far and away more common then a "store coupon". This is because third party services already have distribution networks for coupons. Most merchants know the difference between the two. Coupon codes are programmed into the POS system to keep the the person ringing the transaction from wringing the incorrectly, much like sales tax. In many instances the issuer will deny payment on a coupon that is improperly tendered.

                                                          Thanks for the link, I have my CSBOE paperwork hanging above my computer and I am more than just a little bit familiar with the regulations.

                                                          The post was made when the OP dismissed me saying the rules were different where they live. Fact of the matter is the language and procedures are nearly identical.

                                                          I have dealt with countless customers who are ignorant of the language and protocol for coupons. I have also seen more than a few people that are trying to get out of their rightful bill be causing a fuss.

                                                          If one is going to "make a stand on a principal" it seems to me they need a principal to stand on. If the OP was overcharged that is a shame, but I don't find that to be the likely situation.

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                                                          1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                            Servorg RE: Brandon Nelson Sep 24, 2009 02:07 AM

                                                            To anyone (especially Brandon) who might have read my post before I exercised and got "endorphonized" I apologize. It's 90 minutes later as I "redo" this post. I'm going into a voluntary committment treatment for sarcasm soon.

                                                            You may well be right. This could have been some sort of reimburseable coupon. But we have a lot of small restaurants in LA that issue their own coupons for money off in the "throw away" or "give away" newspapers like the Argonaut that are not remimbursed and so would be treated differently by the tax man. Without knowing more about the coupon that the OP used it would be hard to say which his was.

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                                                            1. re: Servorg
                                                              b
                                                              Brandon Nelson RE: Servorg Sep 24, 2009 11:48 AM

                                                              No worries...

                                                              I have had this discussion many times. Often from the "disadvantage" of having to be the polite merchant. It is sad that I even have to know this this tedious garbage, but I do.

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                                                          2. re: Servorg
                                                            jfood RE: Servorg Sep 24, 2009 04:29 AM

                                                            S

                                                            Jfood thought it was similar to a restaurant.com coupon which is $10 off with a $25 minimum order. If that were the case then it appears that it is a third party coupon and it was the merchant who was correct in his analysis.

                                                            Jfood is interested in seeing if the OP returns and gives the details as the data from Brandon Nelson seems to grant the "smoking gun" for either the merchant or OP.

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                                                            1. re: jfood
                                                              Servorg RE: jfood Sep 24, 2009 04:57 AM

                                                              Right. You just can't tell if this was one of the restaurant.com types, or the little ad for the place in the local paper type that says "X $'s off with this coupon" (that the owner is using to drum up business) and you clip it out and take it into the restaurant with you.

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                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                Servorg RE: Servorg Sep 24, 2009 05:53 AM

                                                                One other thought (and I'm not sure if this is the case or not). While restaurant.com discount coupons are indeed "third party" coupons, as J Food points out above, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are treated the same in terms of tax as manufacturer's coupons (in which the seller is getting reimbursed for the discount they give).

                                                                It is quite possible that there is no one reimbursing the restaurant for the discount being given through the use of restaurant.com coupons. In which case the restaurant should be taking the amount of the coupon off the pretax cost of the meal item and then recalculating the taxable portion on the new, lower total of the check.

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                                                        2. re: beaver479
                                                          h
                                                          hsk RE: beaver479 Sep 21, 2009 06:34 PM

                                                          I think the restaurant owner chose to be safe than sorry. For you it's only $1.30 but for him, if you're wrong, it's hundreds or thousands that he might have to cough up for many coupons on audit. I'd cut him some slack if you liked the food, if you didn't just don't go back.

                                                          I haven't seen a lot of coupons but I seem to remember something like "gratuity, tax and alcohol not included" in the fine print which I took to mean you're still expected to tip on the discount so it seems reasonable that you're expected to pay tax on the discount.

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                                                          1. re: hsk
                                                            Veggo RE: hsk Sep 21, 2009 06:48 PM

                                                            Paying tax on a discount is like paying tax on air. Tax is assessed on the quid pro quo, what you give for what you get.

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                                                            1. re: Veggo
                                                              h
                                                              hsk RE: Veggo Sep 21, 2009 09:40 PM

                                                              So you don't tip on a discount either? I always do.

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                                                              1. re: hsk
                                                                Veggo RE: hsk Sep 22, 2009 04:15 AM

                                                                That's a false assumption, but I can't recall ever having used a coupon in a restaurant.

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                                                      2. r
                                                        Robinez RE: beaver479 Sep 21, 2009 11:56 PM

                                                        Hi,

                                                        While I appreciate the "it's the principal" notion,I am finding it hard to stomach the $1something overage.

                                                        My husband was laid off recently after many yrs with the same co.At this point I wish the only trouble we had was paying too much for a restaurant bill.

                                                        Don't sweat the small stuff beaver.

                                                        Take care,Robin

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                                                        1. re: Robinez
                                                          g
                                                          Gigi007 RE: Robinez Sep 22, 2009 05:43 AM

                                                          I share your perspective, Robin. I too can understand the principle of the matter, but in the scheme of things, it's really not that important. Having and keeping a job and more importantly, one's health are far more important, at least to me. My dad used to get incensed about these kind of principle-of-the-matter things, and it negatively affected his health. And at times, I get upset about fairness issues (or my perception of what's fair vs. others'), but try to step back and put things in perspective. Thanks for your post, Robin. I wish you and your husband all the best. Having been there myself, I know it's tough being laid off after working many years for the same company.

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                                                        2. DallasDude RE: beaver479 Sep 24, 2009 10:09 AM

                                                          Funny this has gone on so long. I had a dispute once where a patron sitting at a counter next to me (did not know) ran a 5 dollar tab. Their claim was that since I spoke to him I must have known him, therefore I had to pay his tab.

                                                          Such rubbish. I will suggest to you to do as I did when the waitstaff is sorely mistaken and definitely wrong. Deduct the amount from their tip. Make it known that is what you are doing too. there are many ways to skin a cat, but I prefer the most direct.

                                                           
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                                                          1. re: DallasDude
                                                            k
                                                            KTinNYC RE: DallasDude Sep 24, 2009 10:26 AM

                                                            The OP had a dispute with the owner and you want him to take it out on the waiter? That is just ridiculous.

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                                                            1. re: KTinNYC
                                                              DallasDude RE: KTinNYC Sep 24, 2009 10:31 AM

                                                              I reread OP and saw no mention of an owner. My incident did not go to management, as the waiter was rude enough I knew he wasn't to be tipped. Please reread my post and take it for face value only.

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                                                              1. re: DallasDude
                                                                k
                                                                KTinNYC RE: DallasDude Sep 24, 2009 10:35 AM

                                                                "This was a small restaurant, owned and run by the same guy"

                                                                Try reading it for a third time.

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                                                                1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                  DallasDude RE: KTinNYC Sep 24, 2009 10:48 AM

                                                                  If the owner was the waiter, and the level of aggrevation was this high, yes I would withhold the tip. You would not be stiffing a helpless waiter, but instead showing an owner /operator that you vehemently disagree. Even more appropriate in this case.

                                                                  I would agree with your stance if there was a scuffle between management and patron with the waiter in the middle. In that case it would be inappropriate to dock the staff. In your words, this simply wasn't the case.

                                                                  I have owned restaurants and bars, and know the value of bringing a body into an establishment. I would not dicker over a few bucks and lose a patron for life. And his 25 friends. And a few of theirs.

                                                                  Good day.

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                                                                  1. re: DallasDude
                                                                    k
                                                                    KTinNYC RE: DallasDude Sep 24, 2009 10:54 AM

                                                                    If you read the post on the thread, you will see 1) that the dispute was with the owner 2) that the waiter was not the owner 3) the OP did not punish the waiter.

                                                                    Either you didn't read very carefully or you just didn't understand.

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                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC
                                                                      DallasDude RE: KTinNYC Sep 24, 2009 11:01 AM

                                                                      Or care all that much, but I am being sucked back in...

                                                                      Lets review the OP carefully line by line (and a HUGE LOL):

                                                                      "I was at a restaurant and I had a price disagreement with the owner. He was trying to charge me $27 but the bill should have only been $25."

                                                                      No waiter mentioned thus far, just owner.

                                                                      "I didn’t want to make a scene so I paid the $27, but could I have just paid the $25? Would that have been acceptable? Or would he have called the cops or something?"

                                                                      Maybe a cop moonlights as a waiter, not sure.

                                                                      "What should I do in these situations in the future, should they come up."

                                                                      More of a statement, but not a question. And no mention of a poor waiter.

                                                                      "This was a small restaurant, owned and run by the same guy."

                                                                      Ahhh, owner is the guy running the place, so one might conclude that he is the waiter? Possibly?

                                                                      Now go back and read my original. I think you might be releived I wouldn't stiff an innocent waiter.

                                                                      EDIT: I see your beef with me now. I did not read all the replies. It was far too agonzing. So if I ran with partial information, you can see clear to give me a hall pass. I still stand by my original statement dealing with my circumstance. We all must admit, this is the silliest thread on Chow to date, and I should never have allowed myself to get drawn in.

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                                                                      1. re: DallasDude
                                                                        k
                                                                        KTinNYC RE: DallasDude Sep 24, 2009 12:13 PM

                                                                        Now we're on the same page. If you read all the post, I understand it's tedious, you'll get details that made your analogy a poor one.

                                                                        "We all must admit, this is the silliest thread on Chow to date, and I should never have allowed myself to get drawn in."

                                                                        You're new here, they get way worse then this.

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                                                          2. The Chowhound Team RE: beaver479 Sep 24, 2009 02:43 PM

                                                            Since this thread is getting increasingly unfriendly, we are locking it.

                                                            We're not really the right source for tax information in any case -- those sorts of issues would be better addressed with CRA or a tax lawyer, rather than on a message board where most people are speculating.

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