Over the past year, I’ve blogged about discount offers from Restaurant.com numerous times. Lots of restaurants Downtown and elsewhere in Memphis are part of their program, offering gift certificates at discount prices. Knowing that a lot of my blog’s audience likes to eat out, I figured this was a good offer to write about. Many of my readers have bought these certificates and successfully redeemed them, so I had every reason to believe the company was completely on the up-and-up.
However, today I learned something about Restaurant.com that concerns me. One of my readers bought a certificate on a recent 70% off promo. She didn’t have any problems redeeming it, but when she checked her bank statement she found a $14.95 debit from a site called shoppingessentialsplus.com. She researched the charge, and found out that as part of the Restaurant.com purchase agreement, she had agreed to share information – including her credit card information! – with ShoppingEssentialsPlus.com.
I Googled the two sites’ names and found numerous complaints about this practice. Needless to say, it goes unnoticed by a lot of people because 1) many people don’t read the fine print of offers they agree to, and 2) many people don’t go over their bank statement line by line every month.
I extend my sincere apologies to anyone who has bought a Restaurant.com certificate through links on my blog over the past year. I had no idea this “partnership” with the other site was going on. Had I known, there is no way I ever would have promoted Restaurant.com. I definitely will NOT be linking to their site in future posts, and over the next week I’ll take down links to them on other sites I own.
If you’ve bought one of their certificates, you may want to examine your bank statements to see if ShoppingEssentialsPlus.com has been charging you. From the research I did, it seems most likely to happen when you agree to a $10 (or some amount) free bonus certificate from ShoppingEssentialsPlus.com when you make your Restaurant.com purchase.
Furthermore, I know that several Memphis restaurant owners who are part of the Restaurant.com program read my blog. I encourage you to Google the two sites on your own, and draw your own conclusions about whether your customers are being treated fairly.
Again, my deepest apologies. Back to your regularly scheduled blog in the morning (unless I wake up too late to post).