(WSVN) - The menu said the meal was one price, but the restaurant charged a different price. Can they do that? If you get the new COVID variant, do you get paid time off from work? Answers to these and other questions in tonight’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Alexandria and her sister were running an errand, and decided to pick up lunch.

Alexandria Lindsay: “And we saw a little shop, and we’re like, ‘let’s go eat there, it looks really good.'”

The waitress gave them a menu. They ordered two caesar salads with chicken and an arepa to go, then handed the employee a credit card.

Alexandria Lindsay: “Well, on the menu, the caesar salad was about $10.99. The arepa was like $8.99, so in my mind, I’m thinking that I’m paying like maybe $35-$40.”

As they waited, the restaurant charged her credit card.

Alexandria Lindsay: “And then I get a text message from my bank saying that I paid $76 for my food.”

Needless to say, Alexandria was stunned.

Alexandria Lindsay: “$76 dollars for two salads. I was like, ‘this is ridiculous.’ I sat there, I looked at the menu again, trying to do the math of how it could happen.”

Based on the menu, it should have been about $40 dollars, not the $76 the restaurant charged her credit card, so Alexandria asked the waitress what was going on.

Alexandria Lindsay: “And she told us that the prices on the physical menu that she gave us are outdated, and the real prices are on their digital menu, but when I came inside, they never told me.”

As Alexandria and her sister talked about what to do, another customer came in, was handed the menu and also not told those prices were wrong.

Alexandria Lindsay: “I just want to know if this was actually legal or illegal or something.”

Patrick Fraser: “A simple question from Alexandria. Can you show one price on a menu and charge another price nearly twice as much?”

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “No, you can’t. The menu is legally an offer, and when you place your order, it’s a binding contract and they have to sell the food at that price.”

We will tell you what Alexandria did but first, a couple more questions.

Patrick Fraser: “A fellow who gets paid to work 40 hours a week usually works 50 hours, and he said he doesn’t get paid for the extra 10 hours. Legally is he entitled to get money for that overtime?”

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes. In fact, under federal law he may be entitled to time and a half for overtime. Other people are not entitled to overtime. The links to see if you should get paid overtime and what to do if you don’t are at wsvn.com under this Help Me Howard story.”

Patrick Fraser: “A viewer said they put down a deposit with a water company 10 years ago. They always pay on time and they now want that deposit back. Can they get it?”

Howard Finkelstein: It depends. If the utility is regulated by the state’s public service commission and you always pay on time, you get the deposit back after a couple of years. If the utility is run by a city or county, they make their own rules and can return it or keep it till the account is closed. It’s up to them.”

It wouldn’t be 2022 without a COVID question.

Patrick Fraser: “You’ve said your company can let you go if you refuse to get vaccinated. Can they do the same if you refuse to get the booster shot?” 

Howard Finkelstein: “Yes. Same rules, no difference.”

Patrick Fraser: “When COVID first hit, if you got the virus and had to quarantine you got paid. Is that still true with the new wave?”

Howard Finkelstein: “No, not anymore. You have to use sick days or vacation days or just not get paid if you can’t work because of COVID.”

Back to Alexandria, she told the waitress to cancel her order. She didn’t get lunch, but she did get a free lesson.

Alexandria Lindsay: “I will be going to more restaurants, but from now on, I’m definitely going to ask like, ‘how much is my bill,’ before I get, actually, order my food.”

Just ask, that’s a way to avoid or solve many problems, and if you get a problem you can’t solve, or a question you need answered, you know where to find us!





Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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