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2 Scottsdale restaurants to pay $20K for not disclosing extra fee on menus

The restaurants would add an "employee benefits charge" to a customer's bill without notifying patrons until they got their bill, officials said.

PHOENIX — Two Scottsdale restaurants have agreed to pay $20,000 in civil penalties for charging customers an extra fee without properly notifying them. 

The Arizona Attorney General's Office said Friday that Maple & Ash Scottsdale and Etta Scottsdale had agreed to pay a settlement to resolve allegations of unfair charging practices. 

Each restaurant had allegedly been charging an extra 3.5% to a customer's bill and the AG's Office said many walk-in consumers weren't aware of this fee until receiving their final bill. 

The add-on charge appeared on the bill as "Emp Benefit," which stood for "employee benefit" charge. 

Menus did not display information about the fee and patrons could only find out about it by visiting the "About Us" section of the restaurant's website, records show.

As a result of the settlement, the restaurants will be instructed to stop charging fees not displayed on their menus.

“This settlement sends a clear message to restaurants that they must disclose all add-on charges on their menus, so customers can make informed decisions," Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a statement.

The $20,000 will be deposited into the agency's Consumer Fraud Revolving Fund.

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