customer want his tip back a week later. is this legal?

last thursday i was waiting on several large groups in the bar where i work. our boss is a strong supporter of adding gratuity to the bill when we can and has even said "always add gratuity. and sometimes they don't notice the grat. and will tip you double." i find this to be sneaky and dishonest and always underline or circle the gratuity in addition to it being clearly printed on the bill. i was told that one of my tables were really good tippers, so when they left me an additional fifty bucks on top of the gratuity i thought nothing of it. now, a week later, the customer is saying that he didn't realize that the gratuity was already on the bill and wants the fifty bucks back. my boss is saying that i now owe him fifty dollars. is this legal? i mean, fifty bucks wont make or break me, but what happens in the future when it is a two hundred dollar tip that someone regrets leaving me? the grat was clearly printed, and underlined. and he signed the credit card slip above the line that says "i agree to all above charges." i feel taken advantage of. it would be one thing if it was one or two hours after the fact... but a week later? that money is already in my budget, going to bills. i feel like if my boss wants to take "the customer is always right" route, then that is a business decision that he is voluntarily making and should not involve me. am i wrong about this? am i protected legally in any way?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Sounds like you collected both tips and the boss refunded $50 to the customer. Adding a tip to the bill is a little unethical and unorthodox. Your boss got caught, it's his bill to pay, not yours. However, if you want to keep your job you may want to reimburse the $50, although you're under no legal requirement to do so.

    Source(s): Paralegal, Commissioner of Oaths
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  • 1 decade ago

    Most bars and restaurants add the tip automatically if you have over 6 or 8 people. At least here they do.

    Anyway-If your boss wants to give the guy his $50, that's up to him. he's the one who's putting the automatic gratuity on the bill. But he should not be asking you to give it back.

    However, keep in mind that it's $50 and he's your boss and may find a way to retaliate against you. In other words, choose your battles.

    Personally, I'd give the $50 back, but I'd STRONGLY suggest that he needs to have an employee meeting to explain this 'policy' to everyone (even get a co-worker to ask for it to) . This would be to discuss if there is a dollar limit on the new Return Tip 'policy' (like the couple hundred you mentioned). I'd also tell him that this 'policy' should explain timeframe, like can the customer come back in 2 weeks, one month, 6 months? And let him know that the rest of your co-workers would benefit from knowing this 'policy', along with other 'policies' he might have.

    In other words, be the bigger person and make him eat s#!+ for the $50.

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  • 1 decade ago

    No. A gratuity by definition is a gift. When he gave you the tip, he gave you title to it. If you had reason to know or should have known that there was a mistake like leaving a $100 tip because the person thought the 100 was a 10 then there might be a case. However in the facts presented, the double tip was a gift and you had neither actual knowlede or should have known of the error.

    If your boss pressures you to return the tip to maintain good customer service, you should either tell him that its yours but for good relations chip part of the tip back or stand on your legal rights. However, the legal thing in a situation is not necessarily the right thing to do. Here you got a double tip, so returning it may be the fair thing but you are not obligated to do so.

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  • Doc
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I'm not a lawyer, I don't know what the law says about such an event.

    But as a business owner, I have to say that if a customer were to return a week later and ask for a refund on a "tip" left on a table the answer would be "I'm sorry, but there was no record of that transaction." A "tip" added to the bottom of a charge receipt that they were supposed to have reviewed prior to signing is another "I'm sorry, but you DID sign off on this charge."

    I would NEVER think of going back to my employee and demanding that they return the money. Because it happens so often that costumers paying for parties, leave an additional tip above and beyond what's automatically added at the bottom of the bill, it is not the norm for the server to inquire about additional moneys (AKA "tips") being left on the table after the fact. Clearly this is a case of the costumer's having gotten the bill from the lending company who owns the card and now he is unhappy.

    If I felt so strongly about "making it right" for the customer, I'd take it out of my own pocket long before taking from the employee.

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  • BL
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Under normal circumstances, It is LEGAL for him to ask for your tip back, however it is LEGAL for you not give the tip back. In other words, nothing ILLEGAL took place.

    Now because he was unaware that he authorized the tip, and you added it, I don't think you have much of a case. It's common for restaurants to notify patrons gratuity is included for parties of 8 or more. However, he was not notified properly and wouldn't have reasonable foresight to think that gratuity would be added. This is not a very customer friendly habit. The receipt is a legal document and there is a reasonable expectation that nothing unknown is added to the receipt.

    A counter argument for people who argue that he should read the receipt is that the patron was drinking. Of course, a contract of any type during impairment is unilaterally invalid.

    I always tip a minimum of 20% (even for bad service, just can't help it). However, If I saw gratuity included, unuathorized I would be pissed and probably wouldn't tip at all and tell them to remove forced tip immediately.

    The funny thing is I doubt the patron went back for the money, but rather the principle after discovering the "deceipt of the receipt".

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    YOU feel taken advantage of? You tricked someone!

    I think your boss is up to no good but there's nothing you can do. Either risk being fired and complain about it, or give your boss the money. This is a lesson for you about trying to trick people into giving you money, and if it did ever go to court you'd have your *** handed to you for behaving that way hopefully by a judge judy type

    But no, he can't ask for it back, but if you are tricking people he can certainly fight it.

    Is he MAKING you add the gratuity on? Where do the tips go? Are they shared out between everyone or just for you? Either way a mistake was made and noticed and since you apparently pocketed the tip it is you who is being asked for the money, not the bosss. I don't see what's so hard to understand about all this unless i'm missing something.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know if it's legal or not, but I do know your boss can't force you to give someone $50.

    If I were you, though, I'd give it back. It was clearly a mistake the customer made, and if someone accidentally gave me $50, I wouldn't try to hold them to it.

    If I was your boss, though, I'd give the customer $50 out of petty cash and not expect my employee, who doubtless has a lot less money lying around than does a whole restaurant, to give it back.

    The money should, ultimately, come from your boss.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You can not legally ask for a gratuity back once it's given.

    There is no legal standing.

    Tell your customer that he is more than welcome to file suit in small claims court to get the $50.00 back, but that you are under no obligation to return money that he gave in good will.

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