Woman offered a free meal for two runs up a £700 bill at top London eaterie

7 May 2015

It’s always nice when a retailer makes a goodwill gesture when they’ve stuffed up in some way, although, in some cases, disgruntled customers might stretch that goodwill to the limit. Like the case of the Hertfordshire woman who, when offered a meal for two to compensate her for a delay in picking up her new (used) car, promptly went out and spent over £700 on a slap-up meal.

The delay in question was caused when a delivery truck bumped into Ms Siobhan Yap’s new (used) car she had purchased from Watford Audi. While Audi repaired the damage, there was obviously a delay in Ms Yap, 27, obtaining her new Audi A3, and in addition to providing her with a courtesy car, the car retailer offered to pay for her to have ‘a meal for two’.

So far so amicable. However, while Audi did not specify a restaurant, or indeed a price limit for the meal, it is unlikely they would have been expecting the inconvenienced customer to book in at the Michelin starred L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Covent Garden, the total bill for the meal for two coming to £714.

picture via BBC
picture via BBC

While at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Ms Yap and her mother did not cut any corners, enjoying four glasses of champagne, two bottles of wine costing £69 each, six cocktails totalling £86 and a sloe gin all at Audi’s presumed expense.

They did also eat some food, and the "small tasting dishes" they tried included one La Truffe Noire at £35, two St Jacques scallop dishes costing £29 each and two La Volatille risottos totalling £42.

Unsurprisingly, Audi were a little dismayed to receive the hefty bill, which was rather more than it would have been in Nandos, with a Watford Audi spokesman saying they felt it was "excessive expenditure for two diners", but as Audi were "keen to make amends for the incident" they offered to cover half the bill, equating to £357.

"We believe this is a fair and reasonable amount given the circumstances, and we stand by the decision taken," said the spokesman.

However, an unapologetic Ms Yap told the JVS show on BBC Three Counties Radio that Audi should really pay the whole bill because she’d had to send the car back for further repairs, and the cost was "relative to what they put me through and their customer service levels". If only we all got sloshed at a posh restaurant every time we had sloppy customer service eh?

"They put me through a lot of stress and it was a really nice restaurant," Ms Yap said, before adding triumphantly that "they should have specified a limit."

Etiquette expert William Hanson agreed that the garage should have set an upper limit and should "learn a lesson" and "absorb the cost". However, he also remarked that "you don't need to perhaps drink that much if someone else is paying".

But what do you think? Do Audi deserve being taken to the cleaners for their naivety, or is Ms Yap just taking the mickey? Isn’t she entitled to a little bit of what she fancied in exchange for what was an admitted cock-up by the car retailer? Or are greedy people like this the reason more firms don’t make added gestures when things go wrong?

TOPICS:   Consumer Advice


  • Gas M.
    Yappy twat.
  • oldgit
    Taking the piss - Audi should tell her to shove the bill up her ****. People like this fuck up everyone else chance of getting reasonable restitution. (Audi only said meal, so how about taking of all the drink?)
  • David
    I think they should pay for the food alone. They did not offer her money to drink excessively.
  • Fagin
    Outrageous, & way beyond the bounds of decency. Sounds like she has a likely background in litigation via ambulancechasers.com.
  • Eight A.
    £2.50 for soda to go with the gin? Are they having a laugh? Also, service charge at 13% when they charge £10 for a gin. That's a complete con. Bet they don't charge £1.49 for eight tins of delicious Ace.
  • Ahson I.
    Audi should have given her a similar car instead of repairing her newly purchased(used) car, repaired cars worth less than the similar other cars as they can develop other faults and dents will become visible after some years.
  • wobbly j.
    So she got a courtesy car as someone else had hit the car... Plus was the restaurant local? I hope she and her mum were breathalysed.
  • Noghar
    Having had my own dealings with Audi I'd say they had it coming, the clueless lying patronising twats. Bought a car off them the other day, they refused to budge on price even for cash, but offered to throw in car tax and a tank of fuel. When I got the car it had neither. If they were stupid enough not to specify a venue or a cap on the bill or even that it should just cover the food, they got exactly what they deserved.
  • Mikarin
    You could feed a group of 50 people at Burger King with that amount of money. Excessive moocher!
  • soapy
    @Noghar - So you're pissed off just because they wouldn't budge on the price? The fact that you still bought it suggests it was still a good price as there are plenty of them so why should they budge? Also I'm pretty sure you're mistaken as "car tax" can no longer but thrown in with car purchases, it's up to the owner to buy the car tax now, it doesn't transfer with the car.
  • John K.
    Jonny Foreigner always wants something for nothing.
  • No c.
    Vote UKIP to solve this problem! Sorry, thought this was the Daily mail...
  • Father J.
    They failed to specify any rules so tough shit Audi. Fuck them and their overpriced Skoda-in-drag cuntmobiles. Actually, she owns an Audi so fuck her too.
  • Jessie J.
    Overpriced shite, is the first thing that comes to mind. Quail Froth and Scallop Eyebrows. Wear my hat low, like you.
  • william r.
    @Father Jack - You could never afford an Audi you benefit subsidized cunt......
  • kv
    "So fuck her too" I would http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/05/06/20/2861ED6200000578-0-image-a-6_1430940067317.jpg
  • Raggedy
    Let me know when you've finished KV, I'm up for some of that too :-)
  • Davey
    Like nearly all modern cars Audis are now over complicated and garages struggle to cure faults. Years ago I bought an Audi 100 estate quite cheaply as its owner no longer trusted it as it had a habit of breaking down on long journeys. I did cure it in the end but allegedly the fault had beaten five previous owners and their garages! No slap-up meals for me as instead I used to drive around with an air-bed and sleeping bag in the back just in case. It turned out that heat had something to do with it as short runs in cold weather were OK. On a long run on day that became hot the car gave me grief but to my horror a huge VAG Main Dealer declined to have anything to do with the car! In the end I limped the car to a cul-de-sac and cured the fault in ten minutes. It was a perished O ring and as warm petrol is "thinner" than cold petrol........GRRRR! Incidentally the fuel injection system was purely analogue and mechanical but now digital and electronic systems are used which are far worse. Sadly if one gets a real stinker the scrappie will only pay £68 per tonne! The women were IMHO extremely greedy but maybe Karma will get them in the end.
  • Dear D.
    Do shut up.
  • Andy B.
    @Ahson Imtiaz - Unless the van which caused the damage was a delivery van for the Audi dealership, then they are simply acting as the agent of the insurance company for the delivery driver, and presumably therefore have no additional liability. Unless there were additional after-sales issues with the vehicle (not clear from the story) then even if they did cause a delay in the repair of the vehicle, very, very few repair companies offer any more than a completion time estimate. Indeed, it is quite a surprise the insurance company even had an Audi dealer repair the damage, as this type of work is generally beyond the scope of most main dealers. More fool Audi for not simply offering a bunch of flowers to say sorry, and leaving the problem for the insurer to resolve. However, they should refuse to pay more than a nominal amount for an 'average' meal for 2 in their immediate area. Common Law would oblige the customer to check what was 'reasonable' as such an overspend could well be considered fraudulent behaviour. Certainly, I cannot imagine any judge would find for the customer in this kind of situation.

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