Tech Fee? Getting Ripped Off At Scottsdale Bars

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Getting Ripped Off at Scottdale Bars is part of my ongoing day-to-day TPOL in the Desert Trip Report.


Arizona provides the best value for those that want to live the lifestyle of the rich and the douchey in the United States. Rent in primetime locations is surprisingly affordable. I pay $1300 a month for a one bedroom in the middle of Old Town Scottsdale. Drinks are relatively cheap like $6 for a Stella at bars and clubs. Fancy restaurants aren’t insane (review of Mastro’s City Hall coming soon), but pizza by the slice is a ripoff (review of Joe’s Pizza coming as well).

Another ripoff which came as a complete surprise is what bars call a ‘Processing Tech Fee’. This bogus charge is 3% of the bill’s total and presumably is there to offset the cost of using a credit card. I used to complain that many places in New York have a $10 minimum to use credit cards. That requirement is more for small shops and bars that take a hit from paying the credit card companies and because they enjoy informal accounting. While minimums to use cards are shady, this ‘processing tech fee’ is downright criminal. The bar that charged this nonsense fee is called Dakota and judging by the massive crowd, it is not struggling for money.

As an anti-tipper (see Uber Eats and I’m Not Tipping Uber Either!), I don’t like tipping a bartender just for opening my beer and handing it to me. I do so because most of their money comes from tips, and I used to be a bartender myself. Right or wrong, this ‘processing tech fee’ has forced me to reduce my gratuity as a way to protest this bs charge.

If you pay cash, you’re still charged $6 for a Stella but no tax is charged on the tech fee. This clever accounting is a way for the bar to maximize its revenues and minimize its tax liability while saving the bar patron nothing.

 

 

 

 

13 COMMENTS

  1. Do you think it is right to stiff (or shortchange) the bartender over a policy he or she has no control over? Agree that it is B.S., but the owner is not going to feel it if you take out your anger on the bartender’s tip.

  2. Why go to a “dooshy” bar that levies ridiculous fees?
    Scottsdale must have dozens of less dooshy, less fee-inclined bars. Jamming the bartender doesn’t do much good. Not ever stepping foot in the bar is the purest form of protest

  3. I will also reduce tip if surcharged. Actions speak louder than words. Let the staff complain to mgmt; it’s not my f**king problem.

    Alex, if this is a credit card surcharge it is likely illegal. Needs to be clearly disclosed at point of sale prior to purchase (likely) and cannot exceed the actual cost (unlikely). They correctly excluded the fee from sale tax.

    Sue the owner so we can find out 😉

  4. Thanks for naming-and-shaming. Easy for me to skip that place and any others that try to stick that on the tab. I won’t screw over the staff (ex-bar person here), but I will let mgmt know my business is gone if any place I frequent adds this.

    • I’m ex-bar person but I wouldn’t be shocked if someone circled the fee and pointed to the tip. I’d take it to the useless manager and complain.

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