Diners Locked In After Refusing to Pay Gratuity - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Diners Locked In After Refusing to Pay Gratuity

Woman, friends eventually pay gratuity



    A few friends dined at a Houston-area restaurant and said they received poor service and refused to pay the tip that was automatically added to the bill. The restaurant wouldn't let the guests leave without paying the gratuity. (Published Thursday, May 3, 2012)

    A Texas woman says a fight over the included gratuity on a recent restaurant bill got way out of hand.

    Jasmine Marks was dining with several friends at the LA Fisherman restaurant on Highway 6 in West Houston and, according to her, received less than impressive service.

    When the check came, and included a 17 percent gratuity for a party larger than 5, Marks didn't want to pay up.

    "We asked her if the gratuity could be removed and could we give our own tip. She said it is a part of their policy and there wasn't a thing she could do about it," Marks said.

    Marks claims that when she refused to pay the gratuity, the employees locked the front doors and called the police.

    "I asked the police officer twice, maybe three times, is it against the law if we don't pay the gratuity. He never gave me a straight answer," said Marks. "We paid our bill for what we ate."

    Dan Parsons, with the Better Business Bureau, recommends diners understand the rules before sitting down to eat.

    "Consumers need to understand the policy before walking in the door. That goes for which credit cards they accept to the hours. Seventeen percent for the six of ya, if you don't like it, go."

    Wanting to avoid any further problems, Marks and her friends paid the gratuity.