Action 9

Action 9 confronts manager at restaurant over complaints of unauthorized charges

WINTER PARK, Fla. — Action 9 investigated a local restaurant accused of adding more than just an extra fee. Some customers claim their credit cards were hit with unauthorized charges.

“It was a nice restaurant, good food,” Rakhi Patel said about her visit to 240 Rose Café in Winter Park.

She has no complaints about the food or the service she received when she visited in January with a group of friends. “So, it was a good time and we had fun,” Patel said.

Later, she discovered an extra charge that she says the restaurant added after she signed the bill.

READ: Extra fees: How much they’re costing you & how to save money

“One of my friends actually texted us saying hey, you know, I signed for one amount but then got billed a different amount on the credit card,” Patel said.

On 240 Rose Café's website it says: “We automatically charge a 20-percent service charge for parties of 6 or more people.” That’s a common fee for large groups at restaurants. However, inside the restaurant, it lists it at 18%.

On Patel’s bill, along with $37 for food, there’s a service charge of $7, which is close to the posted policy. She said she left another small tip on top of that, but according to Patel, things didn’t quite add up. She claims her credit card was charged $62, about $10 more than she had signed for.

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Nadine Nitisusanta said the restaurant charged her 20% more than she had agreed to. “When I looked at my credit card bill, it came to $80, which seems a little high for just a brunch, for a single person,” Nitisusanta said.

Action 9′s Jeff Deal went to the restaurant for answers.

“I’m Jeff with channel 9 news, we’ve received some complaints from customers who say that they’re getting charged extra after they’ve already paid their bill,” Deal continued to ask the manager who identified herself as Carolina, “And how many complaints have you had about this?”

“Just one,” she replied.

“Just one complaint?” Deal asked.

Turns out Deal found more than a dozen complaints online with similar allegations. Some of the complaints went back a year.

One customer wrote, (they) “added an unauthorized tip after I left,” another said the server, “unilaterally added a 50% tip to the bill.”

Some consumers even filed complaints with the Winter Park police department.

Consumer attorney Cynthia Conlin said that if these added credit card charges are true and intentional, it could be problematic.

“After a consumer signs a voucher and then the restaurant adds something else that was not disclosed, an additional percentage, that is not allowed by Florida law,” Conlin said.

The manager of the cafe later acknowledged there has been more than one complaint.

“That’s why we’re doing a story because it seems like it’s not just one customer, it’s more like a pattern,” Deal said.

“Yes, some happens. Mistakes can happen, and they can call me, and we can fix them,” the manager said.

Still for customers who don’t believe it was a mistake, this experience has left a bad taste in their mouths.

“It’s just really the principle of it,” Patel said.

And they don’t want to see it happen to anyone else.

“So now, every time I go out, I get the receipt, and I look at reviews prior to going which is unfortunate,” said Nitisusanta.

It’s always a good idea to get a copy of your receipt. Nitisusanta and Patel said they disputed the charges with their credit card company and were able to get some of the money back.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal,

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.