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Bill is not itemized

Dh and I recently discovered a really great pizza joint about 30 minute drive from home. We've been a few times now and really, it is worth the drive (and we have a lot of pizza places nearby).

The thing is - they give the bill and it just has the total hand-written on it. Not only does it not itemize out the food and drinks, but it doesn't itemize out the tax, either. More times than I can count in the past, we've had situations where we were not correctly charged for items. Twice in the last few years, we were given another table's bill altogether.

This last time, I asked if we could get an itemized bill and the server said that the establishment doesn't do that, but that she could get a menu for me so I could do the math myself. I passed on that.

It's not something that is going to keep us from going there. More of a bother, really. But I realized that this is quite literally the only place where I can recall EVER dining and not receiving some sort of itemized bill. Weird. Dh really dislikes not seeing the details, and it bothers me somewhat, but not enough to make a deal out of it or stop eating their delicious pies. What would you do in this situation?

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  1. I'd at least make a mental note of the prices for the items I ordered, and make sure the bill came close to matching that amount.

    1. If it bothers them then why not tally the items before placing your order or ask for a menu when the bill came as was offered to you.

      OTOH, if it's just a pizza place I can't imagine your're ordering all that many different items so it shouldn't be hard for the waitstaff to scribble down the individual prices. It is odd.

      1. A bit off subject..but it would annoy me if my sever told me that " I could do the math'...
        Maybe im crabby today...lol

        1. This place will have a HUGE issue with the state's taxation department. Since they are unable to provide to you an itemized accounting, they are also unable to provide an accounting and proof that the correct state sales tax was applied and reported to the state.

          And are you also saying that you are just handed a slip of paper with a dollar amount and there is no mention of the food ordered? Or is it the ticket, with just a sum total for the amount?
          In either case they have tax issues, so that will catch up with them. With states dying for budget money, things that were lax or slipped by before are now getting the crack down. Un or under-paid sales tax is one area they are working pretty heavy these days.
          What you do depends on how well you like the food. But, for me, someone who is running this scam, at least sales tax-wise, is also scamming me every once in a while.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Quine

            If they're collecting "tax" and not submitting then they are scamming her every time.

          2. That seems very fishy. Are they in a tourist-heavy location by any chance? Sounds like a classic clip joint tactic.

            1. Yes, they are handing me a (carbon copy) piece of paper that has the total written on it, with no mention of the items.

              It is in a TINY, TINY town and you have to know it's there... very out of the way. No tourists. None.

              Next time, perhaps I should ask, "well, can you at least tell me what the subtotal and after-tax total are?" They should at least be able to do that. Not that it matters (and not the thread to discuss it, as we're good tippers) but we do figure the tip pre-tax and would like to know that amount.

              2 Replies
              1. re: velochic

                Larger municipalities have consumer protection departments that require all establishments to provide itemized receipts to customers to avoid fraud and ensure clarity in business dealings. I'm guessing that "TINY, TINY town" has an "anything goes" policy.

                1. re: ferret

                  The state itself would have protection against fraud, via the department of consumer rights as well as the State's department of taxation. Since they have a state sales tax, huge city or two horse town, all are covered by the tax laws.

              2. Place near me does the same - showing only a total for food and a total for drinks.. It's irritating to some extent - but then I always keep a mental note of prices and know, broadly, how much the bill is likely to be.

                I was less fussed about than I was about their website claiming they held a Michelin Bib Gourmand, when they didnt (and hadnt for several years). Quick email to Michelin got that sorted within about 48 hours.

                Such a shame - good food and an otherwise great local reputation.

                1. They're scamming both you and the state, and it's not just sloppiness, it's deliberate fraud. And it's not your job to figure out your bill accurately, it's the server's; next time the server suggests you calculate this yourself, ask her how much tip you should calculate to leave off because you are doing her work for her.

                  I hate paying taxes as much as anybody, maybe more, but if I fail to pay I have to go to jail. I'm going to go way out on a limb here and guess this place takes cash only and is somewhere between Boston and NYC or thereabouts.

                  Nobody's pizza is that good. I'd stop going and I'd report them to the state.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: acgold7

                    Close on one account. Cash or check only. Midwest, though (about 30 miles outside a major metropolitan area, off the beaten track).

                  2. They need to keep an itemized list of what you ordered somewhere so that they can present you with the total bill. Purposely withholding it from you and telling you you have to recreate it yourself is not cool.

                    1. I've paid with cash in places like these and I usually know the total in my head before the food hits the table. One time I paid w/ a credit card . . . A $30 bill came through as $300! The food was good, the atmosphere was wonderful but I went ballistic when I got the bill.

                      After that, it was kind of funny, I came into the establishment with a pen, paper and a calculator. It never happened again and I really do like that joint!

                      1. Great food or not, I absolutely would not patronize an establishment that just gave me a bill without itemizing the drinks and food ordered.

                        Best case scenario: they are trying to scam the IRS

                        Worst case scenario: they are trying to scam the IRS *and* the customers

                        1. I would speak with the owners, and express my personal desire to see thing itemized.


                          1. I've come into the same type situation with a breakfast restaurant I frequent regularly. What should have been a ten dollar bill was fourteen. I brought it to the wait staff attention and it was corrected. They however did not itemize. I have notified servers no item list no tip. works!

                            1. I would inform them if they would like to be paid, they need to provide an itemized bill. Otherwise, I will assume my meal is free.

                              That should solve the problem rather quickly.