Hong Kong consumer watchdog warns of ‘all you can eat’ trap
The city's consumer council urges people to read statements from restaurants concerning charges carefully before placing orders
A Hong Kong customer enjoying an “all you can eat” lobster offer at HK$198 (US$25) ended up paying HK$990 for five, after the restaurant insisted the customer had been briefed that lobsters would be supplied “unlimitedly at HK$198 each”.
That was one of the 663 complaints made to the Consumer Council in the last year.
The customer had assumed that the lobsters were offered, without limit, at the stated price, and requested a refund for the four additional lobsters consumed. According to its press release, published on Tuesday, the council judged that the case was unclear. However it asked the restaurant, in vain, to process the refund requested.
In another case, a complainant was charged HK$2,500 after ordering a “set for two” at HK$998. The set was charged twice, along with other fees. The restaurant manager explained that the “minimum for 2 persons” stated on the menu did not mean the set meal was available for only two diners.
In a third case, a complainant was served with more expensive, premium-grade sliced beef by mistake. The restaurant argued that as the beef had already been consumed, the bill could not be changed.
The council urges consumers to read statements concerning charges carefully, ask if there are additional or compulsory charges and clarify pricing with staff before being seated or placing orders.