HONOLULU (KHON2) — Here’s a buyer beware tip for those who enjoy going out to eat. You might want to check the menu price twice to make sure you don’t get overcharged.
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A woman who didn’t want to be identified said she recently went to a restaurant with her husband and ordered the salmon dish for $19.99 and a chicken dish for $18.99. But when they got the check, they were charged $28.99 for the salmon and $24.99 for the chicken.
“So I didn’t do anything just because I was just shocked. I didn’t want to get upset at the server, it’s not her fault. So we just paid and left. It left a bad taste in my mouth,” she said.
She didn’t think much of it until a similar thing happened again at a different restaurant.
“In both restaurants I don’t see anything that says menu prices are updated or anything. It’s just pretty much they have old menus out, I am assuming,” she said.
She added there must be a way to make sure restaurants are putting accurate prices on the menu, but who’s in charge of that?
“That’s why I contacted you guys. I was like, I don’t even know what to do with this information, but I just knew it just didn’t feel okay to me. It didn’t feel legal,” she said.
According to the Office of Consumer Protection, restaurants are required by law to make sure that their menu prices are accurate.
Restaurants are also required to let customers know of additional charges.
“If we have a situation where the business did not disclose, and there are no mitigating factors, potentially this could rise to the level of violation,” said Mana Moriarty, executive director of the Office of Consumer Protection.
Moriarty said mitigating factors might include the prices just changed and the menus were mistakenly not updated.
The state doesn’t have the resources to make sure that every restaurant is handing out menus with accurate prices, so anyone who runs into this problem is asked to report it to the Office of Consumer Protection.
When the complaint is filed investigators will visit the business and could file a lawsuit against it.
“And if we prove our case, we could be entitled to recover remedies, including a fine or a penalty perhaps, and perhaps restitution to the consumers, who are affected by the overcharge,” said Moriarty.
He added that customers should bring it up with staff or management when it happens in case it’s an honest mistake.