4 Jan 2010

More surcharges for restaurant, bar patrons

3:56 pm on 4 January 2010

Many restaurant and bar patrons will have to pay a second round of surcharges on Monday after a public holiday fell on a weekend.

Because the public holiday on 2 January was on a Saturday, it is also being officially marked on Monday.

The Hospitality Association says it is reasonable for operators to charge extra on both days because they face extra costs.

It says more businesses - especially those with less holiday traffic - are shutting up shop on public holidays because they are losing money.

Association chief executive Bruce Robertson says that since changes to the Holidays Act in 2003, paying workers time-and-a-half and a day in lieu for working on a public holiday, more businesses are choosing to close on those days.

Consumer New Zealand says customers can refuse to pay more if not told about surcharges until they get the bill and businesses must provide adequate signage if surcharges apply.

Chief executive Suzanne Chetwin says though there are no legal limits on what surcharges can be, businesses should not charge more than they need to recoup costs.