Marriott Florida Restaurants Mandatory Gratuity Class Action

Under what circumstances can bars and restaurants charge a mandatory tip or gratuity? The complaint for this class action alleges that, under Florida law, proper notice must be provided. Although a number of defendants are named in this case—including Marriott International, Inc., HHLP Miami Beach Associates, LLC, and others—all of them have a connection to the Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club.

The class for this action is all customers of a public food service establishment at a Marriott hotel in Florida during the class period who were billed and paid for food and drinks where the bill included an automatic gratuity or service charge. The class period is not specified.

The Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club is a Marriott establishment in Florida. Plaintiff Laura Marie Germak visited the Donna Mare restaurant at the hotel on October 8, 9, and 10, 2020.

The complaint claims, “The restaurant displayed a QR code at [Germak’s] table that brought up an electronic version of the restaurant[’s] menu on her smartphone by using the device’s camera.” When she was finished with her meal, her bill included an automatic service charge of 20%. The complaint alleges that Germak “did not see any notice on the restaurant’s menu she reviewed that an automatic gratuity or service charge of any amount would be added to [her] check.”

According to the complaint, in all three instances, she paid for the meal with a credit card, receiving a credit card signature slip with a line for a tip. Unaware that the bill included the gratuity charge, she also left a tip.

Florida law includes a provision on “notification of automatic gratuity charge,” which the complaint quotes as follows: “Every public food service establishment which includes an automatic gratuity or service charge in the price of the meal shall include on the food menu and on the face of the bill provided to the customer notice that an automatic gratuity is included.”

In addition, Miami-Dade County ordinances also address the subject, requiring that businesses provide notice that is “posted conspicuously, either on a sign or in a statement on the business’s menu or price listing in the same form and manner as the other items on the menu or price listing…”

Finally, the Florida Deceptive Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA) makes unlawful “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce.”

The complaint accuses Marriott of breaking Florida laws in various restaurants in its hotels in Florida “by failing to provide any notice whatsoever on the restaurant’s menu that an automatic, mandatory gratuity or service charge of any amount would be added to customers’ checks.”

It also takes the defendants to task for the practice of “[p]lacing a line item for a service charge on a customer’s check, while also deceptively including a line item below the total allowing a customer to add” a tip in addition to the service charge.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Consumer

Most Recent Case Event

Marriott Florida Restaurants Mandatory Gratuity Complaint

November 3, 2020

Under what circumstances can bars and restaurants charge a mandatory tip or gratuity? The complaint for this class action alleges that, under Florida law, proper notice must be provided. Although a number of defendants are named in this case—including Marriott International, Inc., HHLP Miami Beach Associates, LLC, and others—all of them have a connection to the Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club.

Marriott Florida Restaurants Mandatory Gratuity Complaint

Case Event History

Marriott Florida Restaurants Mandatory Gratuity Complaint

November 3, 2020

Under what circumstances can bars and restaurants charge a mandatory tip or gratuity? The complaint for this class action alleges that, under Florida law, proper notice must be provided. Although a number of defendants are named in this case—including Marriott International, Inc., HHLP Miami Beach Associates, LLC, and others—all of them have a connection to the Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club.

Marriott Florida Restaurants Mandatory Gratuity Complaint
Tags: Inadequate Notice of Charges, Restaurant, Unfair Gratuity Charge