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Subject:  Re: Fraud? Date:  11/17/1999  1:02 PM
Author:  CherieP Number:  20011 of 312189

I agree with TwinFather that this is more a problem of miscommunication than of fraud.

While I can't speak for all restaurants, I worked for a major corporation in the food & beverage industry. When a credit card charge slip is printed, this is an approval process, not an actual charge. After the signature, the credit card is "closed" in the computer with any additional tip added on by the customer. In this case, it sounds like the tip was included already, and therefore the charge was "closed" including the disputed tip by a server who didn't even review the slip. The charges are transmitted electronically to the "bank" at the end of the night. ALL credit card receipts are reviewed for accuracy by an auditor and any corrections made (even after the first original charge). These paper copies are kept for years after the charge. They would be used to defend against a disputed charge.

As to whether the "contract" was invalidated, I wouldn't care. Customer service would dictate I credit the $7.13 to the customer's account if he contacted me. If the dispute came through the credit card company, in all likelyhood I would just forward a copy of the signed credit card receipt to them.

I would explain the situation to the restaurant manager and Amex. To upset a customer over $7.13 is ridiculous.
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