KUALA LUMPUR: A restaurant here said it did not put in a supposed RM10 (S$3.47) "air conditioning" charge in a bill that has been going viral online.
It claimed that the customer who uploaded the image was fully aware of the charge but still uploaded it despite the restaurant cancelling it.
This comes as Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin said that the restaurant would be investigated over the supposed bill, however he said such charges were illegal as long as they are made clear to customers.
Speaking to The Star, the management of the Lucky Gardens restaurant said that the air conditioning charge was only billed to customers that dine in a private section of the two-story premises.
The section, which the restaurant called its air-conditioned executive dining area, is the only section of the restaurant with air conditioning.
The management claimed that the person who uploaded the bill had booked the room for a party of 10 and used the space for over three-hours.
"For their exclusive usage of the air conditioned room, we charged the customer a nominal fee of RM10 which he had requested to waive, and we waived it.
We did a favour for the customer by just charging a nominal fee instead of a booking fee which we waived in the end," said the restaurant's management.
It added in its email response
"Unfortunately, the customer has posted the bill on social media which is not true," the management said in an email response.
Attempts to track down the original owner of the bill have been unsuccessful. The image was uploaded to Facebook on April 15 and has sparked uproar among netizens over the supposed superfluous charge.
Hamzah said on Tuesday that Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry officials have visited the restaurant.
The restaurant admitted to the bill but said that the air conditioning charged had been communicated to the customer.
"Some restaurants have charges like that for customers who book a room for a specific event, and it is not against the law if it is communicated to customer," he told Bernama.
An undercover visit by The Star however, contradicted the restaurant's claim.
Waiters here did not make it clear to reporters that there was an air conditioning charge when they used the air conditioned area of the restaurant.
However, no air conditioning charge was billed in the end. The cashier at the restaurant said the RM10 charge only comes about when a customer has used the space for more than an hour.