As a consumer of dining out without having to pay full price, this concerns me. A warning by the Illinois Better Business Bureau was issued on Wednesday about the restaurant discount site, Restaurant.com.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is says that they have received 253 complaints against the restaurant coupon site. The site says that it represents over 20,000 different restaurants around the US, including many in the Stateline area. The site is based in Arlington Heights.

People contacting the BBB are complaining that they were unable to redeem gift certificates they purchased on the website.

Here's how the site works:

 

One complaint posted by the BB said:

I was alerted that our restaurant is being advertised on Restaurant.com without our knowledge or permission. The company is offering discount coupons for our products that we do not accept. I asked the sales rep to remove our listing from their website. This has not been done.

An Illinois resident posted:

I purchased certificates from restaurant.com from online through an email I received from my workplace for meal deals on 3/25/15. Pepes [sic] Restaurant was the first certificate I attempted to us [sic] which was one of eight certificates purchased, after sitting and eating with my family the bill was brought to us and I presented my certificate for $25 the waitress explained that they did not accept the certificates even though the certificate was especially for that restaurant. I called restaurant.com to explain the issue and all they could tell me was that the restaurant was definitely still in contract and should have accepted the certificate, they offered to refund the money paid for the certificate but had no answers for the actual $60 in cash that I had to come off of to pay the waitress the bill in its entirety.

Personally, I have used this service before quite successfully at restaurants in Rockford in DeKalb, the problems I have are that:

  • Restaurant employees don't know how to handle the certificates
  • The Restaurant tells me they no longer honor the certificate (even though there is NO expiration date). the restaurant may leave the program, but are required to honor the certificate
  • The restaurant has gone out of business. When that happens, I've called restaurant.com and requested an exchange.

My suggestion, before going out to a restaurant you have a certificate for, call the restaurant and ask if they are still participating, so that you won't be stuck with a much higher bill than you were counting on

It is important to NOT confuse Restaurant.com with Restaurants.com. The warning issued by the BBB is against Restaurant.com

Read more HERE from the BBB.