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I've been a supporter of Restaurant. com for a long time, however this "bait-switch" change really irks me, and it's something all who've bought dinner of the month clubs or gift cards in years past (who still have credit) should be aware of.

I have credits in my rest.com account from unused certificates, Dinner of the Month club, and some "gift card" credits. Most date back to 2010.

In the "old days", when you went to redeem these credits, it took you to the same listing of restaurant.com restaurants as if you were searching for a individual certificate to buy today.

Now, when you try to "redeem" these credits, it sends you to theidealmeal.com website, which has a far slimmer offering of restaurants, and often the restaurant you are looking for, isn't on there.

I do have an issue with buying a "restaurant.com" gift certificate/card that is suddenly now redeemed at "theidealmeal". I didn't buy an Ideal Meal Gift Card and do not want their slim pickings offerings.

They never notified anyone of this change, nor is this change "legit" in my opinion, as this is not what I purchased these items for. They are no longer restaurant.com credits/certificates, but only ones you can get from ideal meal.

I called rest.com and really gave them an earful, how this is NOT what I purchased back in 2010, and since these gift cards (which were never used on any given certificate) don't expire, the terms I purchased them under (not their "new" rules) should apply. TOTAL BS!, so do beware if this information affects you.

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yes, and they are prime targets for a lawsuit with this sort of bait/switch and deceptive practices. I'll be happy to fi... (more)

MISTERCHEAP (May. 03, 2012 @ 11:41a) |

Yep, I got suckered on this recently with an Eversave promo. In the past (say, a year or two ago), other 'gift cards' I... (more)

rdnzl (May. 07, 2012 @ 11:00a) |

I myself have approx. $380.00 credit from Res.com which is now the ideal(not so many) meal. I can't even give them away... (more)

zrexpirate (May. 22, 2012 @ 11:47a) |


I think all of these 'deal' sites have caught on and are finding new, shady ways to trick you. It also applies to the restaurants themselves. We bought a Groupon to a Mexican Restaurant that promised something like two appetizers, two entrees, two drinks, two desserts. And it was all 'your choice'. Months later we saw a Groupon for the same restaurant/same deal. We go there the second time and now all of the sudden we can only order everything off of a special (severely limited) menu. And they tried to only give us one appetizer instead of two, etc. etc. I agree. Buyer beware with all of these places.

MISTERCHEAP said:   
I called rest.com and really gave them an earful, how this is NOT what I purchased back in 2010, and since these gift cards (which were never used on any given certificate) don't expire, the terms I purchased them under (not their "new" rules) should apply. TOTAL BS!, so do beware if this information affects you.
I too have been a supporter or restaurant.com and have found that as long as I followed the rules, it was all good

This is indeed disheartening

Did they do anything after your earful? Perhaps you should try email, I have had satisfaction that way. Be specific about what you want (e.g I want to exchange this now for these certs that are available on the main site)

ellory said:   MISTERCHEAP said:   
I called rest.com and really gave them an earful, how this is NOT what I purchased back in 2010, and since these gift cards (which were never used on any given certificate) don't expire, the terms I purchased them under (not their "new" rules) should apply. TOTAL BS!, so do beware if this information affects you.
I too have been a supporter or restaurant.com and have found that as long as I followed the rules, it was all good

This is indeed disheartening

Did they do anything after your earful? Perhaps you should try email, I have had satisfaction that way. Be specific about what you want (e.g I want to exchange this now for these certs that are available on the main site)


Hi Ellory,

I discovered this last night when trying to get a $75 cert (for $150 of dining) for a large group (8 people) for a dinner get together later this month. I suggested a restaurant to the group I really like that is on rest.com (some people who are going are on a limited budget), so this way, all could dine and not break the bank. When I looked for the restaurant about 10 days ago, it was indeed on the rest.com site, but at that time, I wasn't looking to buy a cert....just verify they were still a rest.com merchant.

Last night, I went into my "banked" certificates/gift cards (again, which have been sitting in my account since 2010, from a dinner of the month club subscription and another "general" gift card for rest.com. So I start the redemption process, and low and behold, the rest. I want isn't listed anywhere in the zip code. At first, I thought they dropped out of hte program in the last week or so. Then I did some checking around, and found a link to their rest.com listing and it was still there, but only under restaurant.com if you're buying an individual certificate. There's no notation on the restaurant that they don't accept promo codes or any other "disqualifers".

So I call rest.com today, and they are pretty much indifferent to my plight, first trying to tell me I must be trying to use my credit at a restaurant that doesn't allow "promo codes" (not true, and what difference should that make if I'm redeeming a gift card??. Not entering a coupon code for an ind. certificate purchase). So after I convinced the c/s agent that I was right about that aspect, she said she'd escalate, and they'd manually issue me a certificate to the rest. I want. That was 3 hours ago, and I'm still waiting to get it. We'll see.

But while I appreciated the help in this situation, I complained that I bought credits for restaurant.com restaurants, NOT IDEAL MEAL. and they should either honor ALL the credits on what I want or refund me my money since I didn't agree to purchase these based on a very limited number of restaurants on some "sub" website called idealmeal.

This also "kills" the strategy of many people who buy the gift cards so they can get the certificates they want at the start of the month. If your restaurant isn't on IDEAL MEAL, you're pretty much screwed, and many aren't as I discovered last night.

Like I said, I urge anyone affected by this situation (I know I am), to really complain loudly and be sure they get what they PAID FOR. not some substandard replacement.

If you are affected by the changes discussed in this topic, please be sure to express your dissatisfaction here:


http://restaurant-com.custhelp.com/app/ask

I insisted all "old" certificates/gift cards purchased that have not been redeemed, be allowed at ANY restaurant.com participating restaurant. Not ideal meal only.

If they refuse, I asked they refund my money IN FULL for all unused gift cards/certs and close my account.

Thanks for pointing this out. While not the same topic, I noticed that their customer service is no what it was. Years ago, their customer service was 100% excellent (except that when they were still selling them on eBay, if restaurant changed their specific conditions, like minimum, party of 4, ect, after they listed it, and before you printed it, the conditions on the certificate you won were different than what you bid on, but I would check before paying/printing, and just not pay if they changed it, so I don't know hat happened if you paid before checking, then complained) More recently, I have encountered issues like their refusing to exchange a certificate for a restaurant that was purchased based in their listing stating that it was open on weekends, which it isn't, because it is still in business (in a location I have no interest or reason to be during the week) refunding certificates (in the above type of credit) for restaurants that are no longer in business, but continuing to sell new certificates instead of removing the listings, ect., and emailing me a copy of the terms and conditions, when I asked to return a certificate for a restaurant that turned out to be a seasonal tent, which was taken down (and continuing to sell new certificates.

Mister Cheap,
Thanks you so much for addressing this in the FW forum. I first encountered this last fall - a restaurant available on the public list was not available on the banked gift certificate list, and another was not accepting "promo codes" (aka, my gift certificate). I, too, have several hundred dollars worth of gift certificates banked since 2009 which are nearly unusable now. I made the same points you did to customer service, urging them to honor the terms of the purchase contract. The representative was sympathetic and at my request, promised to have a manager get back with me. That was three months ago.

Consumers should be made aware of this latest "sleight of hand" by restaurant.com. Personally, I'm considering bringing it to the attention of the state Attorney General's office. At least the complaint will be on record (and perhaps restaurant.com will return a call from that office). But I will also post my dissatisfaction to the link you've posted.

What a disappointment!

Suggest you post on their FB page http://www.facebook.com/restaurantcom where you can garner some public feedback

And do the same on their twitter feed https://twitter.com/#!/Restaurant_com

Be polite and professional. Nothing like a little public shame

Good thinking - thanks.

So I just signed in to redeem 2 of my certs after reading this page, and surprise, surprise I found the same thing that you guys have been describing. The restaurant I want that was just added has multiple price options on restaurant.com, but on the idealmeal site it only has a $100 certificate available. Very frustrating. I used to love restaurant.com, what happened to them?

NYBonk said:   So I just signed in to redeem 2 of my certs after reading this page, and surprise, surprise I found the same thing that you guys have been describing. The restaurant I want that was just added has multiple price options on restaurant.com, but on the idealmeal site it only has a $100 certificate available. Very frustrating. I used to love restaurant.com, what happened to them?

I'll tell you what WILL happen to them if they don't make it right with customers. I feel really ripped off by them, and I'm not happy at all about it. Unless I get some satisfaction from Rest.com (still haven't gotten back to me with a resolution from my contact earlier today, both phone and in writing), I'm planning on contacting various consumer protection agencies.

Thnx for the advice on the FB page, but we've seen too many of these FB pages only promote "happy talk", and the posts get removed or ignored. Remember the Organix Shampoo rebates? or the recent RA Vanilla Visa issue? bunch of people posted up, nothing came of it.

NYBonk said:    Very frustrating. I used to love restaurant.com, what happened to them?

not that i am fan of rest..com, but i believe they are on the way to close their business or hardly surviving due to competition from Groupon/google offers/Saveology and more...at the same time i believe the participating restuarents were trying to shrink the discounts so is why restaurent.com is coming on to buyers now. we can only say " those days are gone.."

ellory said:   Suggest you post on their FB page http://www.facebook.com/restaurantcom where you can garner some public feedback

And do the same on their twitter feed https://twitter.com/#!/Restaurant_com

Be polite and professional. Nothing like a little public shame


First of all, thanks to Mr.C for sharing this info. I'm sure many people are not aware of this bait/switch issue yet, so don't forget to make this info more public. Share the info with your family, friends, co-workers on FB & Twitter and as many forums/message boards as you can. Once more people are aware, more complaints will start to pour in and hopefully this will prompt restaurant.com to honor the original terms. Or maybe everyone can agree to demand refunds.

I was another supporter of restaurant.com, but now i would not advise anyone to use the site without carefully going over every detail. ONE THING THEY DONT TELL YOU IS THE RESTAURANT GETS NO MONEY FROM FROM THE FEES YOU PAY, SO THEY ARE JUST MAKING SURE THAT YOU PAY THEM MORE THAN THEIR "SALE" PRICE. The CSRs now will tell you anything to get you off the phone, i suggest you use AMEX to buy anything from them, as AMEX WILL stand up for their customers.

Hmm, while I trust you and everyone else on this thread, I've been redeeming my dinner of the month restaurant.com gift cards via theidealmeal.com for years (probably 6-7+ years at this point). I wasn't even aware that they could be redeemed directly on restaurant.com. Interesting...

edrucker said:   Hmm, while I trust you and everyone else on this thread, I've been redeeming my dinner of the month restaurant.com gift cards via theidealmeal.com for years (probably 6-7+ years at this point). I wasn't even aware that they could be redeemed directly on restaurant.com. Interesting...

Ed,

In the old days, the idealmeal mirrored the restaurant.com site. within the last few months/or year, it no longer does, and the offerings are far, far less. because you could always find the rest. you wanted on idealmeal, it never was an issue. Now the two sites operate with totally different lists of restaurants/or level of certificates available.

ebestbuy said:   NYBonk said:    Very frustrating. I used to love restaurant.com, what happened to them?

not that i am fan of rest..com, but i believe they are on the way to close their business or hardly surviving due to competition from Groupon/google offers/Saveology and more...at the same time i believe the participating restuarents were trying to shrink the discounts so is why restaurent.com is coming on to buyers now. we can only say " those days are gone.."


To the contrary, I think they are making a killing by selling all these certificates/gift cards that noone can ever use, cause so many wind up getting "fed" into theidealmeal, where noone can redeem them for much of anything good.

MISTERCHEAP said:   edrucker said:   Hmm, while I trust you and everyone else on this thread, I've been redeeming my dinner of the month restaurant.com gift cards via theidealmeal.com for years (probably 6-7+ years at this point). I wasn't even aware that they could be redeemed directly on restaurant.com. Interesting...

Ed,

In the old days, the idealmeal mirrored the restaurant.com site. within the last few months/or year, it no longer does, and the offerings are far, far less. because you could always find the rest. you wanted on idealmeal, it never was an issue. Now the two sites operate with totally different lists of restaurants/or level of certificates available.


Ah, I see. You all should come to NYC, where the vast majority of restaurant.com offerings are fortunately still on idealmeal.

update:

Finally got the certificate I wanted issued (after 3 phone calls).

Also spoke to them about many of the issues raised in this thread. we'll see if it does any good.

that website has been a joke for well forever, even at 99.99% off i still would wipe my butt with the offer.

-They charged the 25% tip after taxes -

I had a problem with the a restaurant and they said they always charge tip (after) taxes. So they got an added 9% taxes.

I've never once dined on a rest.com deal and didn't have the restaurant give me crap over it. Couple good friends we go with a lot use them more than we do, and said it happens all the time. We always follow the rules, and let them know we have one before we order. The server almost always takes it from us, reads it, then takes it to the owner or manager. Usually someone comes back and tells us that we're not supposed to have them, they hate those things, they'll lose money, blah blah blah. Not my problem. We've always been allowed to use them, and for the correct terms, but we usually have to send the bill back to get fixed, and have to threaten not to pay at all if they don't honor it. It's almost not worth it.

For the restaurants I frequent idealmeal and restaurant perfectly mirror each other in terms of inventory. Except that the idealmeal site is hard to wade through since every certificate available has its own line item
And the restaurants I frequent don't complain about use of certificates

Thanks for the headsup Mr. C. I'll check my account, and see what I'm looking at.

MISTERCHEAP said:   update:

Finally got the certificate I wanted issued (after 3 phone calls).

Also spoke to them about many of the issues raised in this thread. we'll see if it does any good.
Did you happen to point them to this thread and ask them to respond?

ellory said:   MISTERCHEAP said:   update:

Finally got the certificate I wanted issued (after 3 phone calls).

Also spoke to them about many of the issues raised in this thread. we'll see if it does any good.
Did you happen to point them to this thread and ask them to respond?


no,

it's complicated. but there's no doubt (from what a supervisor told me), that they are putting "redemptions" (idealmeal) i.e., banked certificates, redeeming a gift card, etc in a seperate pool from "new purchases", i.e., restaurant.com individual certs you by with a CC/Paypal.

Some of his answers made no sense. He tried to tell me "some of the certificates I'm look for were OOS on the "REDEMPTION" website" but were still in stock on rest.com.

But on rest.com, when a cert goes OOS, it still shows the restaurant, just that there are no certs to buy, to check back the first of the month. Not so on the redemption (idealmeal) site, the restaurant can't even been found. So I question the accuracy of some of this info.

I also told him, using a gift card or recredited cert should have the same selection as paying with cash/credit. basically, you're getting second class treatment cause you have a credit and aren't getting a brand new cert with Cash (credit card/Paypal).

That would be like Staples only selling items to people who have a credit card/cash and saying "you don't get any merchandise" cause we don't have stock for gift card/cash card customers.

I think the person I spoke with (who said he was in management) was sincere, and understood there wasn't logic to some of the things he was telling me. But when/if those "disconnects" would get fixed, isn't known. He was making my concerns known to the higher ups.



I say it's complicated, cause it sounds like there's some disconnect going on at restaurant.com. Someone is monkeying around with policies there, and answers don't make sense. Bottom line is, as a customer, stay on top of it, and don't let them tell you that you can't get a certificate. I really made the point....if a restaurant has gone out of business and you were recredited back your cert, and now you can't redeem it cause of theidealmeal not stocking what you want (but rest.com does), you've been inconvenienced twice.


You paid cash, tried to use it, couldn't, had to call to get a credit, now you're being told that you can't redeem it for a restaurant cause it's not on theidealmeal and have to call in and bitch again.

I don't regret starting this thread, I think this is going to be an ongoing issue until they finally straighten it out themself, or people have to start complaining to a BBB type of organization to make them fix it.

This used to be a really great deal, i would wait for the $2 sale and buy ten non specific certs at a time. I was able to convert those certs for any restaurant at any time, even when they charged $10. Then a year ago they started to make changes, no more unnamed certs, and during sales, there is almost always a sale, many restaurants were not available with the discount code. The next change was i could buy specific certs at the discount price and then call and change the cert to another restaurant that i wanted to eat at, but now it seems that they just change the rules every week, and when you call in, they do their best to try and convince you that nothing has changed and you just dont understand their business. I always record my conversations and this helps to make them see the light. I still save lots of money using their service, but i no longer tell my friends to use them, as i dont want to hear about the problems they are having. I hope they get their act together, but i am not holding my breath.......A

Earlier in this thread, I posted the link to contact rest.com about this matter. Finally, yesterday, 4 days later I got a response, and it was not a good one. They just don't "get it" imo.....


I apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused you. The website "TheIdealMeal.com is the redemption site of restaurant.com and has been since the beginning of restaurant.com. A select group of restaurants on our website are not available for additional discounts. When you see the notice, “Promo codes do not apply,” that indicates that the restaurant is not available for additional discounts, and any promotion codes will not apply to these restaurants. You are still able to purchase these Restaurant Certificates at our already discounted price. In addition, these restaurants will not be available for redemption on our redemption site. If you have any other questions or concerns, please email me so I may further assist you.
Thank you,

restaurant.com
Customer Service Representative
800-979-8985


again, my question to rest.com is...

If you sold me a $200 gift card to restaurant.com OR I paid for a certificate for a restaurant that went under (even at full price on rest.com) and you re-issued it so I can use it someplace else, WHAT ON EARTH does that have to do with promo codes??? If the gift card or reissued cert is for restaurant.com, don't tell me restaurants on NOT available for redemption!

I should note, while theidealmeal may have always been the "redemption site", this issue of offering fewer restaurants on it, is relatively new, as evidenced by all the comments and gripes in this thread.

AND IMPORTANTLY--it's not just restaurants with the "PROMO CODE" disclaimer that are not showing up on idealmeal. This was the case in point why I started this thread to begin with. Just a lot of inconsistencies in what they are telling people vs. what they are actually doing.
Until restaurant.com changes their policy and makes "good", especially for the people who bought their credits/gift cards PRIOR to these changes, I WILL NO LONGER BUY ANYTHING OR POST DEALS FROM THEM.

This is really a buyer beware situation right now IMO.

Their marketing people came straight from the cigarette lobby.

I don't know what state you're in, but maybe gift card regulations would help you? I've always thought it shady that they call their vouchers "gift cards" when the common understanding of that term is something that's same as cash. A $25 restaurant.com gift card should be the same as spending $25 at restaurant.com. It should not get you vouchers priced at $10, or a subset of vouchers, with that selection changing at any time.

Just imagine if you bought a $100 Target gift card and a few months later went to Target to try to redeem it, and they said "oh, sorry, we changed our policies last week, and now you can only use gift cards on clearance items that no one else wants. But the $100 gift card value applies to the regular price of the items, not the clearance price." I'd be writing my attorney general.

satchelsofgold said:   I don't know what state you're in, but maybe gift card regulations would help you? I've always thought it shady that they call their vouchers "gift cards" when the common understanding of that term is something that's same as cash. A $25 restaurant.com gift card should be the same as spending $25 at restaurant.com. It should not get you vouchers priced at $10, or a subset of vouchers, with that selection changing at any time.

Just imagine if you bought a $100 Target gift card and a few months later went to Target to try to redeem it, and they said "oh, sorry, we changed our policies last week, and now you can only use gift cards on clearance items that no one else wants. But the $100 gift card value applies to the regular price of the items, not the clearance price." I'd be writing my attorney general.



I don't have a problem with the gift card per se, assuming I could actually redeem it on the restaurants I WANT!.


i.e. if I have a $100 restaurant.com gift card, I understand, that will get me 4 $25 certificates. (keep in mind, a $100 gift card is priced based on FACE VALUE - buy 4 $25 certs, not 10 $25 certs based on $10.

why this thread was created is....if I try to get a $25 certificate with that gift card, it takes me to theidealmeal.com, which now has a different/pared down list of offerings than restaurant.com. So suddenly, it's not a "restaurant.com" gift card, since I can't use it to buy what's on rest.com. To sell these things as "restaurant.com" gift cards is extremely misleading, since you simply do not have access to spend it on a certificate any merchant on rest.com. and that's even iF YOU DID BUY the gift card at full (non coupon discounted) price. which is total BS!

I called them yesterday, to get details on the three groups of GC i have, dating back to 2009. I could not get a straight answer if there was any difference in the redemption procedures for the different groups bought at different times for different prices. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to their policies, and i think its time for FW, which makes money from the site, to get them to get their act together and stop screwing FW members....A

Still waiting for an explanation of my redemption options for my various gift certificates, how about a helping hand from FW....

airblade said:   I called them yesterday, to get details on the three groups of GC i have, dating back to 2009. I could not get a straight answer if there was any difference in the redemption procedures for the different groups bought at different times for different prices. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to their policies, and i think its time for FW, which makes money from the site, to get them to get their act together and stop screwing FW members....A


Did you inbox someone at FW? they may not have read your post in the thread.

But the experience you shared above is spot on, and summarizes the problem in a nutshell. They don't even know which end is up....and keep feeding customers all kinds of scatterbrained info. I think rest.com needs a call from a TV consumer reporter or state consumer protection agency.

Presumably this also effects those who do the Coinstar deal to take restaurant.com GC as payment. The promo they have never looked like a very good deal to begin with, but this makes it downright ugly.

billrubin said:   Presumably this also effects those who do the Coinstar deal to take restaurant.com GC as payment. The promo they have never looked like a very good deal to begin with, but this makes it downright ugly.


not to mention all these Groupon/eversave, etc deals which feature a rest.com "gift card" with some other gift card like Target. you're getting a gift card to theunidealmeal.com, not rest.com

I was surprised to find that I received a survey from them last week and I gave the survey an earful about this as I have about 300 dollars in gc's purchased in 100 dollar increments just in Dec. I understood I couldnt stack the certs and had to pay the offering price meaning if it was 25 for some it might be 35$credit to use my cert to buy but, hey I only paid about 8 bucks for the certs and got 24% cb. If the deal becomes unusable then I want a cash refund.

airblade said:   Still waiting for an explanation of my redemption options for my various gift certificates, how about a helping hand from FW....

Thanks airblade for bringing this to my attention and sorry for not seeing your post sooner. I will pass this along to the lead mod to see what can be done.

restaurant.com, through CBS Local Offers, is offering a '$400 restaurant.com eGift Card for just $40! deal right' now.

E

Skipping 4 Messages...
I myself have approx. $380.00 credit from Res.com which is now the ideal(not so many) meal. I can't even give them away as their really is no great resteraunts on them.. I'd like to see all of the other resteraunts back on there like back in 2010.. I'd like to be offered a bit more to choose from..



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