ConsumerWatch: Last-Minute Restaurant Cancellations Prove Costly

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(AP)

SAN MATEO (CBS 5) – Consumers may want to think twice before using a credit card to make a dinner reservation. Many restaurants will charge the card a cancellation fee for a last minute change of plans.

A San Mateo resident told ConsumerWatch a family emergency forced him to cancel his Valentine’s Day dinner at the Melting Pot. He later received a $150 charge to his credit card for being a no-show.

“I never in my entire life been charged $150 for a cancellation fee,” said Ron Charfauros.

According to Joe Ridout of Consumer Action, anytime a restaurant asks for a credit card, consumers should expect a charge if they cancel dinner at last minute.

“Consumers are most likely to encounter these kinds of fees either when they’re reserving large parties or if it’s an event like Valentines day or New Years where they have different food on the menu,” he said.

According to The Melting Pot, Charfauros was informed there would be a cancellation fee of $75 per person. The restaurant also told CBS 5 they don’t normally charge customers for cancelling dinner, unless it’s a special occasion. They were nice enough to give Charfauros a gift certificate.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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