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d the receipt. Well, I checked my AMEX bill online yesterday and they had changed the amount to the full $54.70 without my authorizing it by signature. So, I in effect payed a 30% tip for what I would call poor service (althought I will admit it is difficult to serve 11 people; I know, I was a server myself during college).

My question is, is this out-an-out Credit Card Fraud?

Hi Brian!

I'm sure you've gotten plenty of replies on this one, but I'm just catching up on the board, and I'll toss my thoughts in on this.

Did you get a receipt when you paid that had the amount you intended? If so, you should've spoken up then and there, but regardless, the amount charged was different than what you expected to pay, and you need to dispute the charge with AMEX. I'm certain that AMEX will have absolutely no problem crediting your account--especially since we're talking about a very small amount.

Outside of the US, it's quite customary for a 15% gratuity to be automatically added to the check, and it's expected that the customer will pay it as it's often not considered optional believe it or not.

The reason that it's foreign to us is that unfortunately in most cases, the server does not get this gratuity. It's considered a service charge--more like a tax, if you will. Most of the service charge is divided up between all of the help, with a portion going to the restaurant. Again, while it's an unusual practice to us, it's very normal in other countries, and it's very customary that customers will add more on top of the final amount if they liked the service.

But since you didn't intend for this to be the case, and the bill was changed unbeknownst to you, I'd definitely call AMEX and dispute the added charge.

Good luck!

...but I still am...

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