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Thread: Food Rants

  1. #1
    Humble Wordsmith ETA's Avatar
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    Default Food Rants

    I'm sure I read somewhwere a while ago that if you are dissatisfied with the service provided in a restaurant, including the standard of the food, you have the right in law to withhold payment or to pay only what you think the food was worth. As long as you don't do a runner, you could in theory give the manager your name and address, then say that if he wants the rest of the money he must take civil legal action against you. You have not attempted to defraud the business, nor have you stolen anything. The only time the police should get involved is if someone threatens or enacts violonce or if you try to avoid paying with no good reason.

    So, my question to all the food ranters is this - have you tried standing up for your contractual rights, or even taking your own legal action against the business about whom you are complaining rather than storming (or skulking) off and posting whingeing 'reviews' on a site such as this? I have. I won't name the pubs, but I have certainly refused to pay for a meal which I found unacceptable, and when I discusssed it in a businesslike way with the managers/landlords, showing them the evidence, they have refunded or reduced the cost of my meals with no real unpleasantness. Indeed, many chefs would rather sort out genuine complaints in as pleasant a way as possible as they have their reputations to consider. I do stress that of the many hundreds of pubs I have visited durin gmy life there are only a very few occasions where I have felt the need to do this.

    On the other side of the coin, I have seen some real idiots expecting too much of hard working bar staff, yet the majority of managers and landlords deal with it in their stride, and on the very, very few occasions where I have seen staff use the minimum necessary force to neutralise what they genuinely believed to be an immediate and credible threat to themselves or their customers, it was thoroughly deserved (and, it must be admitted, sometimes applauded).

    While I accept there will be the occasional landlord who will be unreasonable, I believe most are sensible businessmen who will do the right thing provided the customer is being reasonable and has a valid complaint.

    Thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ETA View Post
    I'm sure I read somewhwere a while ago that if you are dissatisfied with the service provided in a restaurant, including the standard of the food, you have the right in law to withhold payment or to pay only what you think the food was worth. As long as you don't do a runner, you could in theory give the manager your name and address, then say that if he wants the rest of the money he must take civil legal action against you. You have not attempted to defraud the business, nor have you stolen anything. The only time the police should get involved is if someone threatens or enacts violonce or if you try to avoid paying with no good reason.

    ...

    Thoughts?
    Exactly. It's a simple contract that you enter in to when you place the order. It's a bit more tricky if the gripe is with the ambiance, eg you don't like the loud music or screaming kids. In that case the best bet is to cut the meal short, pay for what you had and leave explaining why. Some gripes are more to do with this rather than quality of food and standard of service and many publicans would be reluctant to negotiate a discount because their place wasn't what you expected, unless it is clearly advertised as something it plainly isn't
    Last edited by NickDavies; 18-02-2013 at 19:07. Reason: illiteracy

  3. #3
    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ETA View Post
    The only time the police should get involved is if someone threatens or enacts violonce or if you try to avoid paying with no good reason.
    I'm not sure the last bit is right - non payment would be a civil debt surely? I think you would need to deliberately seek to defraud the establishment by some ruse to avoid payment for this to be a criminal offence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpadam View Post
    I'm not sure the last bit is right - non payment would be a civil debt surely? I think you would need to deliberately seek to defraud the establishment by some ruse to avoid payment for this to be a criminal offence.
    You could decline to give contact details, or attempt to provide false ones, or simply do a runner: none of those are good reasons to avoid payment and would be considered theft unless you could provide some reason why any of those actions were reasonable. They probably would be reasonable if the chef was standing by with a meat cleaver but by that time a criminal offence has already been committed.

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    Pub researcher (unpaid) rpadam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickDavies View Post
    You could decline to give contact details, or attempt to provide false ones, or simply do a runner: none of those are good reasons to avoid payment and would be considered theft unless you could provide some reason why any of those actions were reasonable. They probably would be reasonable if the chef was standing by with a meat cleaver but by that time a criminal offence has already been committed.
    A straightforward case of making off without payment is certainly theft, but I was thinking about the sort of disagreements being refered to where a supplier and consumer differed as to whether a meal was edible or of insufficient quality to justify full (or even part) payment.

    I'm not sure the police would want to get involved there unless there was evidence that the punter had deliberately laid a trap (by, for example, planning in advance to order a meal and eat (say) half of it before claiming that the food was so poor that he or she didn't think that any payment was justified).

  6. #6
    Fully paid up beer belly Farway's Avatar
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    While you are probably right in law, the police do get called and often side with owner, rightly or wrongly. The police do not know the law, witness photography in a public place as an example, but mostly feel it is OK to intimidate public into compliance as they see it, ie, pay up, give us you camera etc

    From a personal level we had an experience only a fortnight ago with food, undercooked hard chips & nearly raw fish. Complained politely, full refund. However if the response had been as many poster on here seem to have received, like pay up & clear off, then I would go out of my way to publicise the sort of establishment it is, and why not?

    Why should I go to trouble of Civil action when I can tell the truth on the web and warn others of the non welcome they may receive?

    I do it on here and on Trip Advisor, and for a very few owners / managers the power of the consumers reality is not welcome

    PS I assume the OP is aimed mainly at food, but I assume it applies to bad pints?

    So if barman says "tough" when you say pint is rank, is it OK to leave 2p and say sue me & walk out, or fine to then come on PUG and say rotten pint but not OK to come on PuG and say rotten food?
    Last edited by Farway; 19-02-2013 at 14:41.
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    The problem I have with a lot of the food rants is that they are just that - a rant about the food with no mention of what the pub is like, what the beer was, etc. And more often than not they're made by one posters who never bother to review anywhere that they've liked which is a bit one sided.

    If someone wants to leave a balanced review of all aspects of the pub, and also mention that the food was rubbish/landlord told them to clear off, or whatever, then I think that's fine.

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    Another lot which I wonder about are the complaints about places which are inherently mediocre. If all they do is microwave up Brake's horse lasagne it's going to be mediocre and there's no point complaining that it's mediocre. You'd have thought that everyone has figured out by now that all most mass-market pub chains do is microwave up Brake's horse lasagne and similar treats of dubious provenance.

    Mind you it should still be hot when you get it and served with a smile. Or maybe a whinny.

  9. #9
    Humble Wordsmith ETA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickDavies View Post
    ... all they do is microwave up Brake's horse lasagne ... Or maybe a whinny.
    They're just flogging a dead horse.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickDavies View Post
    Another lot which I wonder about are the complaints about places which are inherently mediocre. If all they do is microwave up Brake's horse lasagne it's going to be mediocre and there's no point complaining that it's mediocre. You'd have thought that everyone has figured out by now that all most mass-market pub chains do is microwave up Brake's horse lasagne and similar treats of dubious provenance.

    Mind you it should still be hot when you get it and served with a smile. Or maybe a whinny.
    Does anyone know if Spoons use Brakes? I would be surprised if they do as they are surely big enough to provide their own ready meals.

    The Condemnation are pressurising the Supermarkets and others to reassure the public when the real problem is cutbacks to the Food Standards Agency in 2010 by the Coalition! A typical hypocritical reaction, but what else would you expect from politicians and especially Dumb and Dumber?

    The last time I ate in a pub was in the Spoons George in Hailsham and I was sorely tempted to ask if the "Roast of the Day" included Horse Meat. I restrained myself and found the microwaved Pork to be excellent!

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