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Restaurant.comHidden expenses & restaurant denies coupon

Hidden expenses not shown until you pay for and print the online coupon. I had to type out what is on my certificate so that others can see BEFORE they make a purchase from Restaurants.com. They sure do not make it easy for you.
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Certificate # XXXXXXXXX
Date Purchased 01/01/09
Validation Line: 1888-905-GIFT (4438)
Or [protected]
"DO NOT CALL validation line unless you are a restaurant owner or employee. Calling the above number will INVALIDATE your certificate"
**********my thoughts...is this a Threat? wow! there is no number ON the coupon for the purchaser to call... you have to go back to the website and look it up... what good does that do when the restaurant isn't ACCEPTING the coupon?**********

Special Instructions: Valid with a minimum purchase of $35. 18% gratuity added to pre-discounted check amount. Excludes alcohol.

The issuing of the restaurant credit is at the sole discretion of the merchant unless otherwise required by law. *** um, did they not agree to this coupon, or what?******
Void to the extent prohibited by law. ***** whaaaat???? I pay for this and then it might be worthless?*******
Gift certificates can be exchange for Restaurant.com Gift Certificates within 90 days of purchase date.
No cash back on gift certificates **** meaning they will NOT give you your money back if you are dissatisfied?****
*****the following is understandable, but important to be aware***********

Limit one (1) redemption per party, per month, per restaurant.
Limit one (1) gift certificate per party even if seated at separate tables, and recieives more than one check.
Not valid with other promotions, coupons, or other certificates.
Valid for dine in only unless otherwise stated.
______________________________ now for my story...

I bought a 'coupon' for $10 using Paypal (for protection, thank God) good for a $25. After checking my email, I found the link to PRINT my coupon and only then saw that I had to SPEND $35 in the restaurant in order to use it.

The restaurant is one we frequent often and the staff knows us fortunately. It's not an expensive restaurant but we knew the food was good and thought... oh well... it's ok... even though we now have to actually shell out NOT $10, but $20 to use the $25 coupon.. we ordered 2 softdrinks, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees and 3 desserts (one to take home with the other leftovers we thought) just in order to get the bill high enough to USE the coupon.

Then we went to pay and the staff had never heard of nor seen this type coupon before. I decided to call the phone number on the coupon and then noticed the line that said I would be INVALIDATING the coupon if I did... so quickly I hung up and asked the staff to call instead. The two staff members poured over the coupon thoroughly and called one of the owners and he also had never heard of this coupon or website. I was put on the phone with the owner and he said it could not be used until he talked to his partner. I gave him the phone number listed on the coupon as well as the validation code on the coupon and insisted he call right away to verify, as I would wait. We had already spent more than we expected to pay, then PLUS the $10 to restaurant.com. what a ripoff... then I read the fine print that said we couldn't get any money back anyway... I was starting to get upset and my fiance was getting ticked off the longer this took.

But we waited to hear back ... this took about half an hour in total. The owner did call back and he told his staff to go ahead and accept the coupon as he wanted the copy to look over and let his staff know he "had a problem with restaurant.com as he had never SIGNED anything with them". Thankfully they knew were were repeat customers and wanted us to not be upset with THEM.

Suffice it to say that it caused stress on us, and with the hefty tip for their troubles, we still had out of pocket expense of about $30. I don't fault the staff... they were understanding. The owner ended up only making about $10 on the whole deal for a $35 meal. It turns out that the TEN dollars I paid goes to RESTAURANT.COM... the restaurant only makes the $10 on the back end (since you are forced to spend 10 more in order to use the $25 coupon) and the loss of $25 dollars ends up being an advertising expense for the restaurant. Maybe that's not a big deal to large chains.. but for small restaurants I think it sucks.

I highly recommend NOT buying anything from this company UNLESS you went through Paypal... (for protection that they don't get a hold of your credit card number.. now they DO have my email so I'm expecting potential spam now after this experience)... and EQUALLY as important... I recommend CALLING any prospective restaurant you MIGHT like to try out using one of these coupons before you BUY one from Restaurant.com. Lastly, only buy ONE coupon to try it out for yourself FIRST.

I hope this helps someone else before they feel scammed. It was NOT a pleasant experience, but one I will not repeat again.

Also be forewarned about the possible unauthorized charges if you should use a credit card to pay. I called Paypal to put a note on my account should it happen to me. I've read that a company called Shopping Essentials Plus might get a hold to your credit card and start billing you monthly, starting the month after you buy a coupon at restaurant.com in the amount of $14.95. I alerted Paypal and they say it won't happen to me after they looked at my account. I hope not, but at least I learned beforehand from THIS website to watch out for it. Thanks for reading and don't be a troll. If you have something negative to say to ME, then explain yourself fully please. I DID scan over the fine print before buying from the site, but they obviously don't make it easy because they seem to intend to scam people AND the restaurant owners.

Responses

  • Mi
    Michele Miller39 Oct 18, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Sesame house restaurant should be removed from restaurant.com, very poor customer service, didn't want to accept the $25 e gift card and told me my code was invalid

    0 Votes
  • Ju
    Just Mom Nov 08, 2015

    I've bought and used MANY certificates and E Cards from Restaurant.com; and have never have a problem! If I change my mind after I buy the certificate, I just go to the website and exchanged it into an E Card and then use that to buy a different certificate. No problem. Those who gripped about being surprised at the amount they had to spend above the face value of the certificate did NOT take the time to read what they were purchasing. It's Not hidden in small print off in some far away location either! It's right there it front of them-I don't know how you can possibly miss it! It's right there next to the button you click to purchase the certificate! Here's a tip: I also have always Called the restaurant First Before I went there to check and make sure that they were still accepting the certificates. This can avoid a lot of your problems in the first place! I'm 67 years old, and I don't have a cell phone, plus I don't even have a car. What I do have is "Common Sense"! Come on people, quit your multi tasking and take the time to use yours!

    0 Votes
  • Sc
    scheadhunter Aug 16, 2011

    I redeemed Coke Reward Points to get a $100 Restaurant.com credit. Before I redeemed my points, I looked at the list of participating restaurants and found one in particular that I wanted to visit. After redeeming my points and getting an access code to Restaurants.com, the restaurant I had chosen doesn't appear in the participating restaurants list anymore! I called the number on the Restaurants.com website only to be told that they are limited as to the number of certificates they can offer per restaurant. I wasn't very happy about this as I had to redeem 1, 000 coke reward points for this $100 credit, but I decided to choose another restaurant. We were going out of town for the weekend - about a 3 hour drive - so I decided to see what was available in that area. I chose a restaurant on the list and redeemed $25 worth of my $100 credit (because it stated you had to spend $35 to use the certificate and we had never been to this restaurant before - therefore, I did not want to redeem the whole $100 credit) I had my husband, son, one of my son's friends and another guest with me and we went to the restaurant. Thank goodness I showed the waitress the certificate BEFORE we ordered! She informed me that they no longer honored the certificates and they had been contacting Restaurant.com since January of 2011 telling them to take them off of their list, but they had not done it yet. I bought the certificate on August 9th, 2011 and tried to use it on August 14th, 2011. It was quite and embarrassing event as it happened in front of my guests. I did call the number on the website again and told them what had happened and they issued an "exchange" credit to my account. I did find a couple of local restaurants on the list and I called them before I redeemed my credits, just to be sure they accept them and to verify if there were any "blackout" times that the certificate could not be used. I'm certainly glad I did not actually spend my money on this website. I would really have preferred to get my coke rewards points refunded to my account than use these certificates. To me it's a type of false advertisement. There is nothing that tells you BEFORE you redeem the coke points that you have to spend a minimum amount of money to use the certificates. Only after you redeem the points and try to choose a restaurant is this information revealed. Lesson learned.

    1 Votes
  • La
    lalala007 Mar 19, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    wow thats all i can say i currently use the website all the time. i think you guys just dont know how to read how can a company get info from a rest with out there knowlege are they just gonna grab a hat and pull a rest out. you obivously have no idea what the hell your talking about tho. so keeping on thinking that ill use rdc all the time for you :)

    1 Votes
  • La
    lah lee lah Mar 12, 2010

    Oh, I forgot to add this: The current website does state somewhere that you have to present the coupon before ordering your meal, so maybe that could have saved you some hassle and expense. Again, this is kind of standard practice, most stores do want you to present the coupon before ringing you up. Sorry it happened to you.

    0 Votes
  • La
    lah lee lah Mar 12, 2010

    Thank you for the tip about using Pay Pal to avoid spurious charges, I will try that if I decide to purchase. I also agree with your suggestion to call every eating establishment before printing out their coupon to confirm they are still participating and the terms of use. I just called up nine restaurants in my area to check and see whether the terms listed for them on the website matched the restaurants' actual policy. For six out of nine the terms matched exactly, in two more the terms were a match but the website had failed to list some detail, such as not being available to use on a holiday or for the Sunday brunch. One out of the nine restaurants was in the middle of relocating and didn't plan to use the program again once they reopened, so the website information was out-of-date and erroneously showed the restaurant as participating when in fact they were not.

    Many of the complaints I'm reading about the service seem to be based on not having fully read or understand the terms, for instance, not realizing that coupons of different face values require different minimum purchases. It took me a while of perusing the website to realize that the restaurant listings have radio buttons next to each coupon value for that business, and the conditions change depending on which button is selected; I can imagine this detail has been overlooked by other people as well.

    Your story about the confusion at the restaurant where you went with your fiancé is one of those which gives me greater pause, in that the restaurant for which you printed a coupon apparently hadn't even agreed to participate. I don't know quite to make of this story and I wish I had more information about how such a thing could have happened.

    Thank for you typing in the details of your printed coupon. I don't know whether the website has been recently improved in response to complaints or whether I am just more thorough than most people in reviewing the site, but most all of what was on the coupon is already on the website in some form. For what it's worth, "Void to the extent prohibited by law" is standard legalese. It just means that if for some reason in some jurisdiction the use of the coupon would be illegal, then it can't be used. Probably a non-issue.

    1 Votes
  • Go
    goodtimes Apr 04, 2009
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I have to agree, the terms are very clearly spelled out and I always take the time to think about 1) how much $$ I think I will be spending at the restaurant to determine which level of coupon to buy since EVERY coupon requires a purchase in excess of the coupon value, and each required purchase order is clearly stated, and 2) what meal I plan to eat at the restaurant since some restaurants have add'l limits on usage, like dinner only or not valid for alcohol purchases, etc. Again, though, those stipulations are clearly stated prior to purchase. If you are able to use a discount code, slickdeals.net usually posts one every month, to get an add'l % off the cost of the coupon, like 60, 70 or 80% then you can purchase a restaurant.com coupon for a few bucks. I bought a $25 coupon for $2. I felt that even if I didn't ever end up using it, the cost to purchase is so low it's worth it to just go ahead and buy it. I did end up using it and the overall meal was still expensive, esp since it didn't taste that good, but at least it was $25 less than it would have otherwise been, which is good when you don't know whether the food quality will be good or not.

    4 Votes
  • Ki
    Kim Feb 20, 2009

    The terms of the coupons are available before checking out. There is no scam here - you guys just didn't read the terms before buying... EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE TO CLICK A BOX STATING THAT YOU HAVE READ AND UNDERSTAND THE TERMS PRIOR TO CHECKOUT.

    0 Votes
  • Bo
    boxman001 Feb 16, 2009

    This happened to me too and I should have read scam websites first because I did not find out that I have to spend $150 to use my $75 certificate until after I bought it. I read the frequently asked questions on their site and I found nothing about this, but it was crystal clear after I paid them. This is very deceiving indeed.

    0 Votes

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