Chipolte recently found itself in hot water over allegations that some of its locations in Pennsylvania have been shortchanging customers.
Are you a fan of Chipolte? If so, you’re probably already familiar with their menu and how certain items cost extra, like queso and guacamole. However, a recent lawsuit alleges that Chipolte restaurants in Pennsylvania have also been shorting customers on change. According to the suit, which is seeking class-action status, the popular chain restaurant is guilty of “misappropriating customer dollars, as well as unfair trade practices.” As a result, the suit claims customers have missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more.
The complaint was filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court by Frank G. Salpietro, the attorney representing the plaintiffs. He said, “It’s our understanding this is a top-down policy. We expect to be able to reveal more details later.”
A spokesman for the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office also chimed in and said the office has “received five similar complaints to the one filed by Salpietro.” How were customers shortchanged, though? For example, one customer named Megan Fox ordered a burrito from a Chipolte store back on August 13 in the city of Pine. According to the complaint, her total was $8.72. She paid with a twenty-dollar bill, but instead of receiving $11.28 back in change, she only got $11 back. In another example, another customer had a total bill of $15.51. She also paid with a $20 bill and only received $4 in return.
When commenting on the matter, Salpietro said employees told Fox and the other customers that they didn’t have any change. However, “they’re only advising of that after they finish the transaction.” He added that the alleged policy “disproportionately impacted poorer customers without a credit or debit card access.” The suit further states:
“This ‘company policy’ not only discriminates against consumers who do not have or do not wish to use credit cards, but also results in a tax-free cash windfall to Chipotle.”
When asked about the policy, and in response to the allegations, Chief Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer Laurie Schalow issued the following statement:
Chipotle’s policy is to give customers the exact change they are owed when making a cash purchase in our restaurants. If a restaurant is low on change as a result of the nationwide coin shortage, our policy is to only accept exact change or other non-cash forms of payment. Restaurants that are impacted have signage posted on the door as well as inside, and employees have been instructed to alert guests prior to ordering. We encourage customers to contact us immediately with any concerns so we can investigate and respond quickly to make things right.