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Complaint Rating:  43 % with 7 votes
43% 7
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United States
Received a $50 "gift certificate" with purchase from drugstore.com. Logged onto restaurant.com. In order to redeem the certificate at a local restaurant, I have to spend at least $50 out of my own pocket. This makes me wary to do business with the restaurants that list with them. Do they know what a rip-off this is?
Complaint comments Comments (24) Complaint country United States Complaint category Food


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 24th of Jan, 2009 by    0 Votes
Scam! Scam! Scam! I got a gift card to Restaurant.com with a purchase from Abe's of Maine. With the card, I purchased 3 discount coupons for 3 different restaurants. The first time I tried to use one, I was informed that they didn't deal with the company any more, but would still honor the coupon as a favor. I complained to restaurant.com and was told that I should call ahead to make sure they will take the coupon. What? Why should it be up to me to call ahead? Why do they issue coupons if the restaurants won't take them. Still, for the second coupon, I called ahead and guess what I was told: We don't take them. We were misled by them. They are a scam.

What do you think I'm going to do with the third coupon? You can imagine where I'd like to stick it!
 23rd of Feb, 2009 by    -1 Votes
Sorry to hear you had problems. I had none. Used 3 coupons, no problem. Great restaurants. No, I don't work for Restaurants.com.
 29th of Sep, 2009 by    0 Votes
I was given a $25 "gift Card". The only restaurant in my area who "honored" it CLOSED. Since I am going on vacation to Sanibel Island, I decided to use the "Gift Card" there. I went through the lengthly log-in process, and NONE of the restaurants that "honor" this card, have any "Dining Certificates" available. NONE!!! This is a SCAM, pure and simple!
 30th of Sep, 2009 by    0 Votes
i always thought it sounded a little fishy considering you get a giftcard for such a low price. thanks for the info.
 5th of Mar, 2010 by    0 Votes
What a scam...they advertise great deals on restaurant gift certificates - like $4 for a $25 restaurant gift certificate - and they show you quite a selection of name brand and "heard of" restaurants..so you fall for it..and buy one. THEN you see ALL of the EXCLUSIONS...CAN'T USE it on certain nights/days of week; CAN'T USE more than 1 per month or combine them; CAN'T USE them for certain menus/items AND if the restaurants "decides" that it is a "special night" they can CHOOSE to NOT ACCEPT them...YIKES! What is the deal then, if you can't use them? The DEAL is for Restaurant.com - NOT the consumer. I even EXCHANGED my certificicates - and then was told that THEY NOW CAN'T BE USED TO BUY ANY OF THEIR "SPECIALS" - Like the $4 deal I bought before. I can now only exchange them for a "dollar-for-dollar" certificate...SCAM BIG TIME...STAY AWAY unless you like throwing money away...I usually NEVER buy 'deals' - and I shouuld have stuck with my gut..
 12th of Apr, 2010 by    0 Votes
This company sells $25 gift certificates for restaurants at a fraction of that price. Problem is, if the restaurant goes out of business before you can use your certificate, they refuse you a refund.

Also, if the restaurant doesn't honor the certificate, the restaurant.com simply shrugs their shoulders. I would not have tried the restaurant I went to if I had not had a certificate. This is a scam to get you to the restaurant thinking you're getting some kind of a deal!

Worse still, the way they've set up their certificates for when you print, the certificate number may or may not appear! Apparently, it's up to the consumer to scour the section meant for the restaurant to make sure that all is as it should be.

This last Saturday night, we were at a restaurant (Ouest) that refused to honor the certificate because the number was missing. Restaurant.com was of no help whatsoever, refused to even refund my money for the certificate.

Buyer beware!
 12th of Apr, 2010 by    0 Votes
I've always got a refund on the ones where the restuarant went out of business. I do not understand why you wouldn have got one.
 13th of Apr, 2010 by    0 Votes
We signed up with Restaurant.com about a month ago under false pretenses. A representative from their company came into our restaurant and reassured us that we were making the right decision to sign up. First, she promised alot of advertising and exposure but all we got were 2 little pictures and customers that tried to get away with paying the minimum. Next, she promised that only 1 certificate per day would be sold but we found out over 175 were sold in less than a month. Next, she said we would get customers that would spend much more than their certificates are worth but all we got were customers that spent the minimum or less even though they know the rules which are clearly stated on the certificate. The only ones that profit here are Restaurant.com. Our restaurant has not made ONE penny from any of the "customers" that have been sent from restaurant.com as a matter of fact we know those customers won't be back unless they have another certificate. We cannot afford to fill our tables with people that come in with a certificate they bought for$10.00, then spend another$10.00 to be at their minimum. At this point I have made $15.00. Oh, the tax goes to the government and the 18% gratuity goes to my server but I still have to cover my food cost, my overhead and servers salary. So, I have just given my food away to a table that won't be back. Currently my attorney is dealing with Restaurant.com. I hope if there are any other restaurants out there that have been lied to, manipulated and SCAMED by Restaurant.com they to will make similar postings.
 29th of Sep, 2010 by    0 Votes
This company is a scam to both small businesses and consumers. Restaurant.com does not reimburse it's restaurant/ bar partners and will continue to sell coupons against the restuarant/ bar owner's will. A consumer can purchase a coupon to a restaurant that does not participate or conduct business with restaurant.com. Restaurant.com does not offer any refunds for the coupon purchased by the customer nor tell the customer the truth about why they are selling coupons for restaurants that do not conduct business with them which makes the restaurant look like a crook. I would be careful if you decide to purchase coupons off restaurant.com. Double check the authenticity of the coupon and call the restaurant first hand and ask if they participate with this shady company before making any purchases from these vultures.
 29th of Sep, 2010 by    0 Votes
To whom it may concern at Restaurant.com,

I just wanted to take a few minutes, and let you know I will never be using your service again. When I purchased “gift certificates” from you, I was under the impression they were just that, a set value to be redeemed at a business. In reality, I purchased coupons from you, that have a nice list of strings attached, such as not to be used on weekends, no happy hour, not to be used on days that have sporting events, dine in only, not to be used on beverages, etc ad nauseum. I have tried to get a few people together to use some of the larger COUPONS I purchased, but it is a tough sell on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, after happy hour, as long as there isn’t a sporting event going on in Seattle.

Admittingly, I didn’t read all of the fine print on your web site, and don’t expect a refund for not reading the entire terms of service, for each of the restaurants I was looking to try.

So, the only recourse I have, is to print these up, try to enjoy the meal, then let management know that although I came in with one of your coupons, I would have tried them anyways, and that I won’t return until they stop using your service.

I do commend you however on an excellent, yet hopefully short lived business model.

Best regards,

 25th of Jan, 2011 by    0 Votes
I purchased a$25 certificate from restaurant.com. When I went to the restaurant, they informed me that they told restaurant.com that they were no longer interested in being in their program. The restaurant would not honor the certificate.

I emailed restaurant.com and explained the situation and asked for a refund since I could not use the certificate. They said that the restaurant is responsible and that they don't issue refunds.

 25th of Jan, 2011 by    0 Votes
I forgot to mention that the restaurant told restaurant.com that they didn't want to be in their program 6 months prior to my incident. Restaurant.com continues to sell bogus certificates anyway.
 27th of Jan, 2011 by    0 Votes
Every single one of these complaints on this site talks about "reading the fine print" or "I made a purchase, then read the fine print, and zoinks!!! Fraud!!!"
It's all there for you to read, for better or for worse. Yes, some certificates are not beneficial if booze isn't included...so don't buy it. I "don't buy" them all the time for that very reason.
I've used restaurant.com for 6 years and have been reading at or above the 12th grade level since I was 8 years old.
If you can read, and want to save quite a bit of money from time to time, USE restaurant.com
Because, there's no such thing as a FREE lunch anyhow.
 8th of Feb, 2011 by    +1 Votes
Having used at least 2 certificates at participating local restaurants in the last year, all I can say is: it works and it's a great deal, especially when Restaurant.com offers $25 certificates for $2. If you subscribe to their emails, you will be able to purchase at that rate at least 4-6 times per year. The restaurants have always honored the certificates, with no question or problem.

I have read every item posted here, and I see that most of the complaints come from folks who obviously didn't read the terms and conditions posted at the Restaurant.com website. Yes, there ARE restrictions; each individual restaurant has its own specifications on when the certificates can be used, what the minimum FOOD purchase is, etc. I'm guessing a lot of the complainants did not read thru the entire site before purchasing. The certificates used to have expiration dates, usually one year. Recently, though, I see that the certificates never expire. I also see complaints from restauranteurs who are dissatisfied with the service; they joined to generate business & repeat customers, and are now upset that 'too many' people are using the certificates, causing them a loss. Apparently, when they try to opt out of their commitment/contract, they leave the customer with the certificate 'holding the bag' when they refuse to honor it. Some restaurant owners & certificate buyers seem to have had difficulty communicating with Restaurant.com, so I can't comment on this issue. The one time I, as a customer, called Restaurant.com, the call was answered promptly, and the information I was seeking was helpful. I never tried to email.

To anyone who wants to try dining with these certificates, all I can recommend is that you call the restaurant before you purchase the certificate, and then use the certificate promptly, just in case the restaurant is subsequently seeking to opt out of the program & is unwilling to honor the certificate. Present the certificate to the waiter BEFORE you order, to be sure they will honor it. If not, you then have the option to leave. Buy the certificates one at a time, so there's no prolonged time period wherein an unhappy restauranteur decides to refuse them. Because of the many restauranteur complaints I see here, it's probably not a good idea to give a certificate as a gift, unless you're sure the recipient will use it rather soon. Remember that it's not a 'free' meal to the recipient; they will have to pay something.

And to the unhappy restauranteurs: please do the right thing & honor the certificates; they were purchased with your knowledge & understanding of the program, and if you're not happy with Restaurant.com for any reason, the customer should not be the one to 'pay' for your dissatisfaction. For example, when I have used a certificate once, I have returned to that same restaurant, if I liked the food & service, numerous other times without a certificate (because the repeat visit is usually a spur-of-the-moment decision), and have recommended the restaurant to friends. The certificate DID generate repeat business, at least on my part, and offered a great, inexpensive way to try a new place. When you refuse to honor a certificate, you can be ASSURED a customer won't return!

And, no, I don't work for or have any connection to Restaurant.com; I'm just an average 'Jane' consumer in a small town in northwestern NJ, looking forward to my next new dining experience.
 23rd of Feb, 2011 by    0 Votes
Every restaurant I have tried from restaurant.com participated in the program, what you wrote doesn't make any sense.
 16th of Jul, 2011 by    -1 Votes
Too much whining in this thread, between the "poor" restaurant owners to the disgruntled, elitist servers...owners: READ a contract before you sign it, and don't sign if you don't like the terms; servers: get an education and get a real career so you can stop complaining about tips...I was a server while getting my degree, and, yes, SOME people are cheap and don't tip...those people get offset by the nice people who tip 20% or more...I was once tipped 46 bucks on a $54 meal by a very nice older couple because I was nice to their grandson, that tip more than made up for any stiffs I got on that shift...
 23rd of Aug, 2011 by    0 Votes
I am a restaurant owner. Unfortunately I have gotten involve with this scamming company, if I had known from the beginning how they worked I would not have even talked to them. They did not disclose any information about selling coupons or gift certificates to costumers, nor did they mention the fact that they keep all the money from those sales. According to the sales representative they wanted to put our name in their website for people to comment on it. This has caused us major economic problems since we are not getting any money from it. We tried to cancel, but they have REFUSED TO DO IT. THEY WON'T CANCEL AND THEY WANT US TO HONOR THE GIFT CERTIFICATES WHICH THEY KEEP SELLING FOR AMOUNTS OF 10 - 100 DOLLARS.

If anyone wants to organize a lawsuit against Restaurant.com please contact me at leuzhca@yahoo.com.
 3rd of Sep, 2011 by    0 Votes
Do not deal with Restaurant.com. It is a bad business partner for restaurants. It exploits the desperate situation small restaurant operators face in this down turn by promising increased traffic but not telling the cost associated with it. Please note that there is no national chains or franchises participating with Restaurant.com The larger chain restaurants have the staff to run the numbers and read the fine prints to figure out that the Restaurant.com Gift Certificate program gives Restaurant.Com a cart blanche to print the money at the cost of participating restaurants. Consumers buying the Gift Certificates do not really get the face value discount after adding in sales tax, gratuity in addition to the purchase price. Also consumers are forced to over spend to meet the minimum purchase requirement. As you can see in other numerous complaints, Restaurant.com will not cooperate partners or customers once they got their money.
Again please stay away from it.
 5th of Sep, 2011 by    0 Votes
I'm confused. You start the post with it's bad for small restaurants but turn around and say consumers buying the discount don't really get it after tax and gratuity.

Either way, you are wrong. I buy them all the time. My job offers an additional 50% off the pricing on the site. I am a person that enjoys a martini on my weekend dinner and I can see right on the site, 99.9% of restaurants don't include drinks in the offer. So that makes me spend 9-15 extra dollars on a bill to cover my minimum requirement for the coupon. Good for the restaurant.

I buy the coupons with open eyes, while I might had to spend the extra 9 on food, Guess what? My husband LOVES to eat. He's one of the lucky few that can eat eat eat and never gain any weight, so I indulge him. More food for him and he's happy. Plus the site is VERY upfront about it ( the restaurants make the rules, not them) . So now, I'm getting 50 dollars worth of food, for only 12.50. How can that NOT be a great deal? Even if you count the 9 dollar drink, it's still more than a 50% discount.

We love these coupons when going out with other couples, we get to "pay" for their part of the dinner and 9 times out of 10, all we really are paying for are their beverages.

I tip anyway, that's a give in for going out to eat, so you can't say " well with a tip its not a good deal" because if you go out to eat and don't tip, you shouldn't be going out to eat anyway. (and you should tip based off your NON discounted amount, not the discounted amount!!! )

I'll tell you a ripoff, and it's not the sites fault. Its the high end places. Buy our 50 dollar coupon but you can only use it when you spend 200 dollars, not usable on specials, not usable on drinks, not usable during hardly anything ect ect... those places are just nuts.
 25th of Jan, 2012 by    0 Votes
These Bloodsuckers are the Worst

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