VALENCIA, Calif. (CBSMiami) — A recent trip to the Cheesecake Factory in Valencia, California ended with a serving of frustration for customer Frank Abreu.
“To me, it felt like a borderline theft. I just felt that wasn’t right. They were trying to rip me off and other people, and I wanted them to fix that,” Abreu told our sister station KCBS.
His credit card receipt shows the suggested tip amounts don’t add up.
“Twenty two percent of $33 is not $16.18 as suggested. That’s almost 50 percent,” Abreu explained.
The response he said he received from the restaurant chain’s corporate office about the inaccuracy didn’t seem right either.
“He kind of led on like we knew about this, and I said you know about it? I said: What are you doing about it? Are you putting anything out to the patrons that they have to be vigilant and look at this because it’s not accurate? The manager told me the same thing that night. She said it was up to the customer to figure out the tip.”
When KCBS pointed out the math mistake to the Cheesecake factory’s corporate office, a spokesperson sent a statement that read in part:
“We provide every table with a check that shows the total of all charges and a suggested gratuity range for that total. All gratuity amounts listed on our guest checks are suggestions only. Guests are free to tip as they please.”
What seemed odd to Abreu was that the itemized receipt showed the correct tip suggestions, but he said many customers usually don’t pay attention to that receipt and instead, focus on the one they sign.”
“I just wish they used the correct numbers there. It’s like price gouging,” Abreu said.
Now, he is wondering how many customers, including himself, have left inflated tips.
In August 2017, a class action lawsuit was filed against the California-based restaurant chain for allegedly using the tip suggestion to trick customers into paying a higher tip.
The complaint states the company should be held accountable for the “practices which resulted in the misrepresentations to and fraud against its customers.”
The lawsuit goes on to accuse the popular franchise of carrying on this deception for years.
“The practice has been going on for at least the last four years and at over 200 restaurant locations operated under The Cheesecake Factory mark and at 13 locations operated under the Grand Lux Café mark, and customers have complained of the practice on the internet,” according to the complaint.
The restaurant calculates the suggested gratuity based on the total bill, not each diner’s share, according to the complaint.