Berlin restaurants have begun scamming customers

160 posts in this topic

I had the feeling that GA might have been mistaken about the Mehrwehrsteuer.  Receipts do summarise the total tax paid.  It is however, not added on again.  Which is why I wanted to see the receipt!  Find it particularly difficult to believe that they would actually give you proof that they had ripped you off.

 

 

 

 

kassenzettel.jpg

 

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Hi snowingagain,

I fully understand the system of of deduction of  Mehrwertsteuer and then adding it again - we are used to this.   It was only me spotting the words "Tips are not included" that alerted me to the problem and then the tax issue as well. In my case I confronted the staff with the receipt.  A non-German speaking tourist would be unlikely to spot in small font on one page of a multi page menu that it states that Mehrwertsteuer and tips are included. On reflection, I think they took the bill to "Sort it out".  I cannot swear they gave it back to me and from what you say, if it was a scam they would not want to do this at all coasts.  Still, lesson learned... I'm tempted to go back in a little while to see what happens, if they have forgotten me, or other staff are on duty.  I will of course hang onto the bill at all costs if a recurrence occurs.  I would be more than happy in that case to post a copy to name and shame, as well as visit the authorities... 

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Also take a photo of the menu before you order so you can later compare the prices when you get the bill.

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LeonG - Good idea but I am happy to ask for the menu later if there are perceived issues. I don't want to go so far in what are almost always very friendly restaurant environments with great ambiance.  Thanks though. 

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I quite like Leon's idea. Any restaurant devious enough to charge a 19% premium for their own pockets, is quite capable of having "alternative" menus to show.  I'd be taking a photo. No-one would think anything untoward in the Instagram age! I'm often photographing menus and sending them to (normally British!) friends who are running 15 mins late and want me to order for them. 

 

 

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I would photograph the menu because then you have something to show if you decide to go somewhere and complain about their behaviour.  If you ask for the menu later, they might show it to you but if you want to take a photo at that point, they might not be too happy with that.

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3 hours ago, CustomX said:

Interesting! Seems like people have downvoted me for suggesting that the restaurant has acted unconscionably and deserves to be named and shamed since they refused to refund the extra 19%  Mehrwehrsteur that they illegally charged Gerry. 

 

Bizarre! 

I can't be certain, but you might have been down-voted for a perceived out-of-the-blue rant about a 2 month old post. Don't feel bad about it, the points don't count for shi*t.

Personally I like your passion for a fellow Berliner's cause. If I lived there I might PM the OP for the restaurant name to try it out for myself.

One of my local Italian restaurants overcharged me for takeout the first time I went in there. It has happened to me in other places too and I'm certain it's due to my English accent. The only reason I didn't argue this time is because the "price" he quoted was actually exactly what I had calculated I would pay to include a tip and round up to the nearest whole number...

Pissed me off though. The next time I went in (hey, best pizza in town only comes from one place!) I was with a local. The same guy who overcharged me took a long, confused look at us both and then proceeded to calculate the correct price. This time there was no tip added on top, neither from him nor from us!

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2 hours ago, Gerry A said:

A non-German speaking tourist would be unlikely to spot in small font on one page of a multi page menu that it states that Mehrwertsteuer and tips are included.

I swear to god that I have never ever seen a German menu that claims that tips are included in the prices. Your mixing something up. A usual thing is to say that "Mehrwertsteuer und Bedienung ist in den Preisen enthalten" which mean that "VAT and service is already included". But the word "Trinkgeld" or "tips"  on a German menu... Nah...

 

Anyway, pointing out that tips ("Trinkgeld") are not included might be a little bit rude, but is in no way illegal.

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2 hours ago, Gerry A said:

Hi snowingagain,

I fully understand the system of of deduction of  Mehrwertsteuer and then adding it again - we are used to this.  

 

 

Ehm - there is not such "system", not in germany. Mehrwertsteuer is always included and shown on the receipt. 7% for take away food and 19% for all drinks except water and milk (both 7%) and all food consumed in the restaurant.

 

There is no deduction and there is no adding and that's what snowingagain wrote.

 

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4 minutes ago, someonesdaughter said:

7% for take away food and 19% for all drinks except water and milk (both 7%) and all food consumed in the restaurant.

Nope. Food (milk and tap water is considered food, Schnaps and Mineralwasser not) is 7% Mehrwertsteuer, when you buy it.

 

However, if you consume food in a Restaurant, you're not buying food, a service  is provided (lovely music, warm chair, clean table and so on), and this is always 19%.

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12 minutes ago, franklan said:

Nope. Food (milk and tap water is considered food, Schnaps and Mineralwasser not)

 

BS. Mineralwasser is of cause considered as food: http://www.bvl.bund.de/DE/01_Lebensmittel/03_Verbraucher/15_Wasser_Mineralwasser/02_Mineralwasser/Mineralwasser_basepage.html?nn=1402446 and Schnaps is of cause considered as food: https://www.lgl.bayern.de/lebensmittel/warengruppen/wc_37_spirituosen/et_spirituosen_zusammensetzung_kennzeichnung.htm

 

12 minutes ago, franklan said:

is 7% Mehrwertsteuer, when you buy it.


Nope. When you buy shrimp or crabs it's 7%, lobster is 19%. :) When you buy early potatoes it's 7%, buy sweet potatoes and you have pay 19%.

 

12 minutes ago, franklan said:

 

However, if you consume food in a Restaurant, you're not buying food, a service  is provided (lovely music, warm chair, clean table and so on), and this is always 19%.

 

Nope: The burger at MCD* or any other burger stall is generally 7% - irrelevant whether you take it away or eat it on the warm chair ...

 

Anyway: there is no system of deduction and adding.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, someonesdaughter said:

Anyway: there is no system of deduction and adding.
 

 

 

Jeez, stop with the word games.  Look at the receipt posted, the "system" is that the tax is sometimes (maybe always) broken out into a separate line item.  This is being described as deducted and readded. That is to say the price quoted on the menu is including tax, but on the bill it is shown ex tax and the tax is shown separately and added together in the total.  It might be slightly misleading or imprecise terminology but we all know what is meant and yes it does happen.

 

3 hours ago, snowingagain said:

kassenzettel.jpg

 

 

 

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Quote

BS. Mineralwasser is of cause considered as food:

 

You don't seem to grasp it. Yes, concerning the hygienic laws and customer safety regulations, Mineralwasser is a food, but not concerning the tax laws. Anything that is considered a "Grundnahrungsmittel" but not a "luxury food" is 7%. 

 

 

Quote

Nope: The burger at MCD* or any other burger stall is generally 7% - irrelevant whether you take it away or eat it on the warm chair ...

 

Again, you do not know what you're talking about. The last question at a German MCD is always whether your order is "zum hieressen oder zum mitnehmen". Depending on your answer, the final button is pressed. If you said "zum hieressen", the calculation is 19%, if you said to go, some products are "7%".

 

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2 hours ago, franklan said:

I swear to god that I have never ever seen a German menu that claims that tips are included in the prices. Your mixing something up. A usual thing is to say that "Mehrwertsteuer und Bedienung ist in den Preisen enthalten" which mean that "VAT and service is already included". But the word "Trinkgeld" or "tips"  on a German menu... Nah...

 

Anyway, pointing out that tips ("Trinkgeld") are not included might be a little bit rude, but is in no way illegal.

Sorry to be pedantic, but it's not me that's confused here. I fully understand the difference between Trinkgeld and Tips.  As per my original post the words on the menu were, "Mehrwertsteur und Servis sind inklusiv"   The words on the bill were, "Tip is not included” (In English!).  If you read my original post you will appreciate that the issue was paying Mehrwertsteur twice – i.e. included as per the menu and then charged again on what appears to be a “tourist” bill, pointed up by the Tips words written in English on the bill. You will of course be aware that a tip is not obligatory but one is hardly likely to tip someone for fraud!. I hope this helps your understanding. 

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You said that this was not the only restaurant doing this thing?

On 4/9/2016, 8:36:32, Gerry A said:

 

 

 We live here and will never go there again, but it's not the only restaurant doing this.

 

So this has happened to you on other occasions?  Did you not manage to keep any of the receipts?

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2 hours ago, someonesdaughter said:

Mineralwasser is of cause considered

 

 

it's "of course" not of cause.

 

I had the most rdiculous argument with my former boss (German) over this.  She insisted it was "of cause"

 

I hear this all the time.  Finger nails on a blackboard.

 

ok carry on.

 

but wait...how on earth could sweet pototoes be charged at 19% VAT?  I honestly don't believe this but what is the alleged logic there?

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1 hour ago, LukeSkywalker said:

€3,10 for a 0,5 Weißbier is an absolute bargain. Prost :rolleyes:.

 

as is a birnenbrand for 2.50!

where, pray tell, is this magical drink shangri-la?

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3 hours ago, snowingagain said:

You said that this was not the only restaurant doing this thing?

 

So this has happened to you on other occasions?  Did you not manage to keep any of the receipts?

Not happened to me before.  After this experience I told some friends and couple of them related similar stories from the past.  That's why I put it on this forum, to see how widespread it was. 

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4 hours ago, zwiebelfisch said:

 

Jeez, stop with the word games.  

 

Looking for clarity is "word games", aha. 

 

2 hours ago, lisa13 said:

 

but wait...how on earth could sweet pototoes be charged at 19% VAT?  I honestly don't believe this but what is the alleged logic there?

 

Believe it or not. http://www.business-on.de/stuttgart/ermaessigte-mehrwertsteuer-umsatzsteuer-steuerreform-steuerverguenstigung-hoerbuecher-_id49.html

 

There's no logic in there. Albeit franklan hopes so:

 

4 hours ago, franklan said:

 

You don't seem to grasp it. Yes, concerning the hygienic laws and customer safety regulations, Mineralwasser is a food, but not concerning the tax laws. Anything that is considered a "Grundnahrungsmittel" but not a "luxury food" is 7%. 

 

Yeah, "Grundnahrungsmittel" like truffles for example – 7%. 

 

You don't seem to grasp it, there's no logic in it. tomato puree: 7%, ketchup: 19%, basil and salt: 7% each. basilsalt: 19% ...

 

 

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