STB helps tourists stunned by $707 chilli crab bill

STB helps tourists stunned by $707 chilli crab bill
(Left) The portion of the one crab that Mr Caaway and his family paid $707.20 for; (right) the receipt billed to Mr Caaway and his family.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has reached out to a family of tourists from the Philippines who were stunned by a $1,186.20 bill - including a $707 chilli crab dish - for a dinner at Boat Quay's Forum Seafood Village restaurant last month.

Mr Adrian Kong, STB's area director for the Philippines and Brunei, called the Caaway family on Thursday to extend an apology for their unpleasant experience in Singapore.

University lecturer Santiago Caaway, 54, told The New Paper last week that the waiter who served the family of four on April 26 had trouble speaking English, and all they could understand was "big or small", referring to the size of the crab.

Mr John Conceicao, STB's executive director for visitor information and feedback, told The Straits Times yesterday that Mr Kong had verified the facts of the case with the family, and given advice on how they could seek monetary redress.

"STB follows up with all complaints received," he said, adding that those involving monetary refunds are directed to the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), which will pursue the matter on behalf of the complainant through mediation or the Small Claims Tribunal.

Case executive director Seah Seng Choon said that it is working closely with STB to resolve the dispute.

Forum Seafood Village's business consultant Thomas Tham told The Straits Times yesterday that the restaurant was prepared for a compromise with the family on compensation matters.

"If they want a refund, we can offer a partial refund because of the misunderstanding," he said, adding that the restaurant's menus clearly state that the Alaskan king crab costs $208 per kg, but the waiter, who does not speak good English, did not inform the tourists of the final price.

Case last received a complaint involving Forum Seafood Village Restaurant in 2012.

The Philippines was Singapore's seventh-largest market for tourists last year.

This article was published on May 17 in The Straits Times.

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