University of Oregon senior Mikayla Ashten, like many UO students, frequents Taylor’s Bar and Grill on the weekends. The popular campus-area bar is usually packed with students from Wednesday to Saturday night.
Ashten pays her bar tab on her debit card and leaves a cash tip. Recently, however, she’s suspected that her card was getting charged for more than the amount she owed. Last Thursday, she saved her receipt to prove it.
Her suspicion was correct. Her card was charged $21.50, when she should have been billed $18.
Ashten reported the issue to her bank, and went into Taylor’s the next day to ask about it.
“The bartender apologized and said things get crazy, receipts get wet and he’s sure it was a mistake,” Ashten said. She also noted that he offered her a free drink and gave cash to compensate for the overcharge.
It turns out Ashten isn’t the only one who’s had issues being overcharged at Taylor’s. The Emerald has obtained pictures of receipts and bank statements from multiple people indicating that they were overcharged.
On Sunday, Ashten tweeted a photo of her Taylor’s receipt next to the charge from her bank. The tweet gathered more than 75 retweets, and people started to reply with their own experiences.
“Happens every time,” one person replied.
“Happens to me probably once or twice a month,” wrote another.
In total, four people responded to the tweet saying it happened to them.
Additionally, five reviewers on Facebook and Yelp from the last year and a half accuse Taylor’s of overcharging their credit cards.
The Emerald spoke with the mother of a student, who wishes to remain anonymous, that says this frequently happens to her daughter. When she and her husband were in town for last weekend’s football game, they decided not to leave a tip on purpose to see if Taylor’s added one on the card. Taylor’s did. The mother reported the incident to Eugene Police this week, and she says an officer contacted her via email to follow up on the incident.
UO senior Sarah Visse, who goes to Taylor’s around once a week, has also noticed the issue. She, like Ashten, decided to save her receipt on a recent trip. According to Visse, her card should have been charged $14.50, but instead was charged $15.50.
“Only $1 was added, but that’s still illegal,” Visse said. “This has happened to my friends too.”
Visse provided additional photos she got from a friend, whose card was overcharged three separate times in one night. The first image is a picture of text messages from the friend’s bank, which alerts her every time her card is used. The friend scratched out the tip line on all three of her receipts. Despite this, Taylor’s added a tip each time. The second image shows the actual amount the bank charged her account. The $2 charge was changed to $3, the $4 charge was changed to $4.50, and the $8.00 charged was changed to $9.
Based upon Yelp reviews, these allegations aren’t new. A January 2014 review says, “Overcharged my debit card twice in a row!” Another Yelp review, from August 2015, says, “When checking my bank statement, I saw that they had overcharged me. This has happened to more than a handful of my friends.”
More recently, a Taylor’s Facebook review from Nov. 16 said, “If it’s anything close to busy and the bartenders think you’ve had enough to drink, they’ll overcharge you on your card transaction and add a tip you didn’t give.”
Eric Clarke, a 2007 UO grad and general manager of Taylor’s, said he thinks a lot of these accusations come from people who are unaware of their gratuity policy.
“When tabs are left open, it’s our policy to charge a 20% gratuity. That’s posted in our store, and that’s an industry standard.”
When asked about the students who closed their tab with (or without) a tip and still reported being overcharged, he said, “If someone closed their tab and the card was overcharged, it was a mistake. We get thousands of people coming through here on weekends, it gets hectic, and honest mistakes happen.”
Clarke said Taylor’s has not yet been contacted by Eugene police, and he was unaware of any investigation.
“We value our regulars, and want to treat them right. If we don’t have them, we don’t have anything going for us. We want to be a positive place for the UO community.”
Follow Jack Pitcher on Twitter @jackpitcher20 .