Harvard Professor Threatens Restaurant With Lawsuit Over $4

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December 9, 2014 6:33 p.m.

Harvard Business School professor Ben Edelman wants his $4 back.

Last week, he ordered food from Sichuan Garden in Brookline and discovered that the restaurant charged him $4 more than what was on its online menu, Boston.com reported.

Edelman contacted the restaurant, and one of the restaurant chain’s employees, Ran Duan informed the professor that the the menu on the Sichuan Garden website has been out of date for a while.

Edelman was incensed. He then demanded that the restaurant refund him $12 since he noted that the “Massachusetts consumer protection statute” requires businesses to compensate customers three times the amount of an overcharge.

When Duan agreed to refund Edelman only the difference between the online menu prices and the amount he was charged, the professor threatened the restaurant with legal action. Edelman indicated that the restaurant should refund all customers who were overcharged.

Duan later told Edelman in an email that a lawyer had advised him that a disclaimer on the restaurant was covered by a disclaimer on its website stating that prices vary at the chain’s multiple locations.

When Edelman disputed this, Duan asked, “is this really worth your time?”

And according to Edelman, it is.

“The more you try to claim your restaurant was not at fault, the more determined I am to seek a great sanction against you,” Edelman wrote in his response.

Edelman told Boston.com he has not yet decided whether to pursue legal action, but has notified local officials about the matter.

Read the full email exchange between Edelman and Duan at Boston.com.

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