MANHATTAN SECRET GRATUITY: OLIVE GARDEN, RED LOBSTER AND OTHER RESTAURANTS ACCUSED BY TED DIMOND OF SECRETLY ADDING TIPS WITHOUT TELLING CUSTOMERS

Manhattan restaurants secretly adding tips to bills without customers’ knowledge: lawsuit

Ted Dimond, 47, accuses the Olive Garden and Red Lobster in Times Square, Ruby Tuesday on Seventh Avenue, the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway and Applebee’s on West 50th Street of ripping off diners.

By , AND / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013, 12:50 PM
Here’s a tip: Check your bill if you’re noshing at a chain restaurant in Times Square.

A Manhattan man claims five restaurants — and maybe many more — have been tricking diners into tipping their waiters twice by building a bonus into the tab, but not telling the consumer.

Ted Dimond, a 47-year-old tennis pro, is now petitioning the Manhattan Supreme court for permission to file a multimillion dollar class action lawsuit against the alleged offenders.

Restaurants such as the Times Square Red Lobster are tricking consumers into leaving tips as high as 40 percent, a lawsuit claims.

Sam Costanza for New York Daily News

Restaurants such as the Times Square Red Lobster are tricking consumers into leaving tips as high as 40 percent, a lawsuit claims.

“This is a significant consumer rights and antitrust case,” Dimond’s lawyer, Evan Spencer, said in a statement. “These restaurants have jointly conspired to raise prices in a deceptive manner … and the named defendants are only the tip of the iceberg.”

City consumer protection laws allow restaurants to tack onto a bill a maximum 15% tip for any party of eight or more, Spencer said.

But the Olive Garden and the Red Lobster in Times Square, the Ruby Tuesday on Seventh Avenue, the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway and the Applebee’s on West 50th Street, are all flouting that law, the court papers state.

'These restaurants have jointly conspired to raise prices in a deceptive manner,' the lawyer says of places such as the Olive Garden in Times Square.

Keith Bedford/REUTERS

‘These restaurants have jointly conspired to raise prices in a deceptive manner,’ the lawyer says of places such as the Olive Garden in Times Square.

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As a result, clueless consumers have been leaving double tips as high as 40 percent, Spencer said.

When a Daily News reporter visited the Ruby Tuesday that Dimond singled out as an offender, she discovered all the customers there were getting slapped with an extra 18% gratuity.

The lawsuit claims that places such as the Crossroads restaurant in the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway are illegally adding tips to parties smaller than eight.

Sam Costanza for New York Daily News

The lawsuit claims that places such as the Crossroads restaurant in the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway are illegally adding tips to parties smaller than eight.

Craig Allen, 49, who hails from Detroit, noticed it on his bill after eating lunch with his son, his daughter and her boyfriend.

Allen said when he questioned it, the waiter told him, “In this part of town, this is what we do.”

“They didn’t even get my son’s order right,” Allen groused.

The Applebee's on West 50th Street is one of five restaurants breaking the law, claims a lawsuit by Ted Dimond.

Sam Costanza for New York Daily News

The Applebee’s on West 50th Street is one of five restaurants breaking the law, claims a lawsuit by Ted Dimond.

Jacques LeSage, 49, of Montreal, said it was just him and a friend and the waiter warned them the tip would be included in the bill.

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“He told us, ‘Don’t be surprised when you see the bill’,” he said. “You don’t have to add more.”

Ruby Tuesday on Seventh Avenue automatically charges customers a large gratuity, Ted Dimond's lawsuit alleges. He filed the class action suit against Ruby Tuesday and four other Times Square restaurants.

Sam Costanza for New York Daily News

Ruby Tuesday on Seventh Avenue automatically charges customers a large gratuity, Ted Dimond’s lawsuit alleges. He filed the class action suit against Ruby Tuesday and four other Times Square restaurants.

Ichi Chen, 49, who lives in New Jersey, said her waiter didn’t say anything about a tip as she lunched with her daughter. It wasn’t until after she paid the bill, and left the tip, that she noted the 18% gratuity on the tab.

“It’s not right,” an angry Chen said.

Leigh Duthie, 52, a visitor from Australia who lunched with two friends, said he learned about the built-in tip “after we got the bill.”

“I was a little surprised,” he said. “Eighteen-percent. That’s pretty hefty, especially for a place like Ruby Tuesday. We’re not talking high-end cuisine here.”

Dimond’s lawsuit also accuses the restaurants of breaking state fraud statutes that allow litigants to collect triple damages.

In this case, the damages could escalate because in addition to the five named restaurants, the defendants include as many as 1,000 additional restaurants that would be identified in the future, the court papers state.

There was no immediate comment from the restaurants that Dimond cited.

bross@nydailynews.com

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/restaurants-secretly-add-tips-bills-lawsuit-article-1.1385156#ixzz2Xh9XchlH

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2 thoughts on “MANHATTAN SECRET GRATUITY: OLIVE GARDEN, RED LOBSTER AND OTHER RESTAURANTS ACCUSED BY TED DIMOND OF SECRETLY ADDING TIPS WITHOUT TELLING CUSTOMERS

  1. I’m one of the victims. Applebee’s Times Sq included in the bill a forced gratuity that is not supposed to be included when the party is only two pax!

  2. RedLobster in Toms River jipped me by adding the 18% gratuity to my bill without telling me knowing I put $40 down on the table for tip. How selfish of them not to say it was added to the bill!!! They lost a customer

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