I found the following question in Kiplinger's July issue and thought I'd share it with you all:
My friend and I disagree about whether one should mention an under-charge on a restaurant check to the server and offer to pay the higher amount. He says no, it's just the restaurant's tough luck that they made a mistake. I say yes because I received value and should pay for it. What do you think?
This situation could happen anywhere -- not just at a restaurant. You could end up being charged less that you were supposed to be charged at a grocery store, on your monthly trash removal bill, from your lawyer, when you pick up a pizza or in any number of situations. The question here is, what do you do when this happens?
For me, I bring it to their attention. I got something of value, I agreed to pay it, and simply because they made an error doesn't mean I can go along with it and cheat them from what they do. My integrity (if to no one but myself) is worth more than saving $3 off a sandwich. A lot more.
I do have a couple caveats, though. The first is that I catch it in time. For instance, if I look at a restaurant bill while still in the restaurant and see that they've under-charged me for $5, I'll bring it to their attention. If I don't catch it until I get home, I now have an extra consideration -- the time needed to make it right. There's now a cost to me -- a cost that I didn't agree to -- in time and effort in order to make it right. At this point, if it's a nominal amount, then I'm likely to let it go -- my time is worth more than the mistake they made. But if it's way off (say $10 or $20 or more), I'll call them back and even go back down there (as long as it's not too far) to make it right. Granted, most restaurant bills aren't off $20, but other bill may be.
My second caveat is that they have to make it easy to pay the right amount. In the past, either I've had experience or have had friends have experiences where the companies made it extra hard to make up the difference. Examples:
- "You have to go to the Customer Service desk to handle that." And there's a 45-minute wait. Nope. Not gonna do it.
- "You need to fill out a form to correct the amount." Why do I have to be hassled for their mistake?
- "You need to come to the location to make a payment." And the location is an hour away. Again, not worth the time.
- "You need to talk to Bill and he's only in at certain times." And they are never convenient times. I'll pass.
Basically, I'll do whatever is reasonable to correct the issue, but I won't bend over backwards if they make doing so too inconvenient or difficult.
How do you handle issues like this?