When dining out at a restaurant, you expect to pay only for the items you ordered and the tip you left the server. Unfortunately, both genuine mistakes and fraudulent situations do occur, causing you to be charged for more than you actually owe. Whether you notice the error while still at the restaurant or when checking your credit card statement a few weeks later, reporting an overcharge is an easy and effective way to recover your funds, as you shouldn’t have to pay an amount that exceeds your total bill.
Talk to the Restaurant
Ask to speak with the manager at the restaurant immediately when you noticed your card has been overcharged. It’s best to catch the error as soon as possible, to increase your chances of proving the error and receiving a speedy refund. If you notice the issue while still at the restaurant, address the problem immediately. However, if it takes you a few days to catch the error, you can still call the restaurant any time. But if you feel as though you're getting the run around, go up to the restaurant and ask to meet with a manager in person.
Contact Bank or Credit Card Issuer
When contacting the restaurant directly doesn't achieve the desired results, call the bank or credit card company that issued the card you used at the restaurant. Most financial institutions are willing to help you dispute restaurant overcharges. After you explain the situation, a representative from the company will contact the restaurant to investigate. Policies vary according to each card issuer, but many will refund the disputed amount regardless of whether you have a receipt, while others require you to produce one.
File a Police Report
Contact the local authorities to report an overcharge you feel was fraudulent. Not only can this help you to get your money back, it makes the police aware of the situation if any other customers come forward with similar accusations. For example, if a restaurant overcharged you by a very significant amount, such as $500, this is not a small matter to be taken lightly.
Contact a Consumer Advocate Group
File a complaint with a consumer advocate group like the Better Business Bureau. These organizations serve as a mediator between consumers and businesses to help resolve situations such as restaurant overcharges. The organization will contact the restaurant to investigate your claim and may be able to help you get a refund.
Laura Woods is a Los Angeles-based writer with more than six years of marketing experience. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.