The McDonald's restaurant in Palolo fixes price glitches in its new cash registers
I just went to the Waialae Avenue McDonald's that reopened recently in Palolo and they had a different price at their big menu at the drive-through than they rang up at the cash register. I told them they need to charge me the same price that's on the menu and it caused a lot of chaos. They can't just change their prices at the register, can they? Don't they have to abide by their prices posted on the menu?
Who to call
Customers who believe they were victims of advertising fraud can call:
» Office of Consumer Protection: 587-3222.
» Better Business Bureau: 536-6956 (www.hawaii.bbb.org).
Glitches with a new cashier system installed when the restaurant reopened last month caused the price discrepancy, said Melanie Okazaki, marketing manager for McDonald's of Hawaii.
She said she apologizes for the error and thanks you for bringing the problem to the store's attention.
The Palolo McDonald's, which closed for renovations in the spring, fixed the error early last week by cross-checking all advertised prices against what registers were charging customers, she said.
Prices had been off by a couple of cents for "a few items," Okazaki said, noting some people were actually billed less than they should have paid.
"We are not seeing anything with huge discrepancies," she said. "We are a bit embarrassed about that, but we are going to make it right for our customers."
Okazaki said she wasn't aware of any other McDonald's restaurant in the state that had similar issues.
Steve Levins, executive director of the state Office of Consumer Protection, said state law requires businesses to stick to their advertised prices.
A section in Hawaii Revised Status Chapter 481A says that a person engages in a deceptive trade practice when he or she "advertises goods or services with intent not to sell them as advertised."
"Any retailer, including a restaurant, that is advertising a price should honor the price. Otherwise, it would be in violation of the consumer protection laws," he said.
In general, Levins said the state doesn't have many problems with advertising fraud.
Lisa Nakao, director of operations with the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii, said of 162 advertising complaints the organization processed from consumers statewide in the past three years, seven dealt with food carry-out establishments, including five in the past 12 months.
"It's not a major part of the issues that we deal with, judging from the numbers," she said.
Levins said companies can be fined $500 to $10,000 for deceptive sales practices.
He said penalties for violators vary depending on the circumstances. If the violation appears to be an isolated problem or a mistake, the office may just issue a warning letter urging the business to correct it immediately, he said.
Customers who believe they are a victim of advertising fraud should contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 587-3222 to file a complaint, Levins said. Written complaints may also be filed to the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii's Web site at www.hawaii.bbb.org or by calling the bureau at 536-6956, Nakao said.
Q: Where do you drop off prescription glasses that you want to donate? I tried calling the Lions Club but they don't answer.
A: You couldn't get through because District 50 (Hawaii) of Lions Club International is in the process of changing offices.
District Executive Secretary Mervin Wee said he is working on compiling a statewide drop-off location list that he will post on the Lions' Web site. But in the meantime, he said, you can call his cell phone at 228-8414 for the location closest to you.
June Watanabe is on vacation.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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