Shamed PE restaurant bilkers pay up
A couple who were part of table of four that walked out of a restaurant without paying their bill have agreed to pay the R700 owed‚ after the manager lodged a Facebook appeal and opened a police case.
The Stage Door at the historic Phoenix Hotel in Port Elizabeth had footage of the cheating foursome from their CCTV camera‚ so were able to identify them.
After first asking them on the restaurant's Facebook page to come forward and pay their bill‚ and giving the three men and a woman a deadline to do so‚ manager Nicholas Ofsowitz opened a case with the SAPS. He then briefly posted their photos on Facebook‚ which he took down after they were identified.
The couple came forward and agreed to take responsibility for the bill‚ blaming their dining companions for doing a runner.
Under South African law‚ a case of fraud can be opened against people who fail to pay their hotel or restaurant charges. The guest may also be sued by the establishment for payment of the bill.
Ofsowitz said he would not let the experience sour his attitude towards patrons.
“I firmly believe in the goodness of man and we’ve got some of the nicest customers in the city. It’s sad that one or two people tarnish that. But we’ve had fantastic support over many years. I don’t want to be cynical.”
The Phoenix‚ established in 1837‚ is one of the oldest operating hotels in the Eastern Cape.