Councilman David Greenfield wants to stop a dirty practice that is costing New Yorkers millions of dollars a year at restaurants across the city. The New York Post is reporting that Greenfield wants to enact heavy fines for eateries that deal in the tricky ‘double tipping’ practice.
Restaurants that con people into tipping twice do so by including the “suggested” gratuity in the bill and also add a tip line at the bottom of the credit card slip. Unassuming patrons then add on an extra tip, unaware that they have already been charged one. The Post described how the practice first saw the light of day:
Earlier this year, Manhattan tennis pro Ted Dimond sued a half-dozen restaurant chains – including Red Lobster and The Olive Garden – for regularly adding tips of 15 percent or more to the tabs of small dining parties.
His class-action suit cited a 2009 Post investigation that found that dozens of businesses had been caught engaging in illegal tipping practices.
Greenfield, who has proposed fining restaurants $250 who partake in the scam, spoke to the economic impact of the practice and the need for action:
“By our account, this is literally an in issue that is costing restaurant-eating New Yorkers millions of dollars every single year,” Greenfield told The Post.
“We’re not looking to hurt the hard-working waitstaff at restaurants,” he added. “But at the same time, we don’t want you to trick people into tipping you twice.”
The law would be enforced by the Department of Consumer Affairs, and require a disclosure on both the bill and the credit card receipt, in a font-size to be determined by the agency.
The bill has been referred to committee for hearings.