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What Happens if Your Card Gets Declined at a Restaurant?

Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by Lauren Beck

Dining out is one of life’s great pleasures. But what happens if your card gets declined at a restaurant?

If your card is declined, the first thing you should do is check to see if there are any errors on your account. If there are no errors, then you’ll need to contact your card issuer to find out why your card was declined.

Read on to learn what you can do if your card is declined at a restaurant.

How Restaurants Respond to a Declined Credit Card?

Here’s how restaurants typically respond to a declined credit card(6 ways):

1. Other forms of payment

The first thing most restaurants will do is ask if you have another form of payment. If you have cash or another credit card, then you’ll be able to pay for your meal without any problem.

2. Trust

If you’re a regular customer, the restaurant may be willing to extend some trust and let you pay for your meal later. This is especially true if you have a good relationship with the staff.

3. Collateral

Some restaurants may ask for collateral, such as your driver’s license or a credit card, in order to ensure that you pay for your meal. This is usually only done if the restaurant doesn’t have a good relationship with you or if you’re a new customer.

4. IOU

In some cases, the restaurant may let you sign an IOU, which is a promissory note that states you’ll pay for your meal later. This is usually only done if you’re a regular customer and the restaurant trusts you to pay your debt.

5. Call the police

In rare cases, the restaurant may call the police if you’re unable to pay for your meal. This is usually only done if you’re causing a disturbance or if you’re refusing to leave the premises.

6. Track you down

Some restaurants may try to track you down after you leave in order to get payment for your meal. This is usually only done if you’re a regular customer and the restaurant has your contact information.

What Is Petty Theft Mean?

Petty theft is defined as the unlawful taking of property with a value of $950 or less. Petty theft can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the value of the property stolen and the offender’s criminal history.

What Is a False Wait?

A false wait is when a restaurant deliberately keeps a table open even though there are customers waiting to be seated. This is often done in order to make it appear as though the restaurant is busier than it actually is.

What Happens if You Dine and Dash?

Dining and dashing, also known as skipping out on a bill, is when a customer leaves a restaurant without paying for their meal. This is considered to be theft and can lead to criminal charges.

Why Your Credit Card Was Declined?

restaurant bill for coffee and credit card on wooden table

There are a few reasons why your credit card may have been declined at a restaurant:

  1. Insufficient funds: If you don’t have enough money in your account to cover the cost of your meal, then your card will be declined.
  2. Invalid credit card number: If you enter an incorrect credit card number, then your card will be declined.
  3. Invalid expiration date: If your card has expired, then your card will be declined.
  4. Invalid security code: If you enter an incorrect security code, then your card will be declined.
  5. Card is reported lost or stolen: If your card is reported lost or stolen, then your card will be declined.
  6. Card issuer is unable to authorize the purchase: If your card issuer is unable to authorize the purchase, then your card will be declined.
  7. Merchant error: In some cases, the restaurant may have made an error when trying to process your payment. If this happens, you should contact the restaurant to resolve the issue.

Can a Restaurant Make You Wash Up if Your Card Is Declined?

No, a restaurant cannot make you wash up if your card is declined. However, the restaurant may ask you to leave if you’re causing a disturbance or if you’re refusing to pay for your meal.

Do Servers Have to Pay for Walkouts?

No, servers do not have to pay for walkouts. However, the restaurant may deduct the cost of the meal from the server’s paycheck if the customer doesn’t pay [1].

Conclusion

If your credit card is declined at a restaurant, there are a few things that can happen. The restaurant may ask you to leave, call the police, or track you down in order to get payment for your meal. In some cases, the restaurant may extend some trust and let you pay for your meal later. It’s important to know what to expect in case your card is declined, so you can be prepared.

Reference:

  1. https://www.consumerreports.org/consumerist/after-a-dine-and-dash-is-it-legal-for-a-restaurant-to-take-money-from-a-waiters-tips/
Lauren Beck
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