Melbourne diner Lorida Quiambao was charged $1,020 by Navi for cancelling booking
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A female diner was left furious after a restaurant charged her a whopping $1,020 cancellation fee for her party-of-six.
Melbourne woman Lorida Quiambao, 36, had booked a table for Saturday at Restaurant Navi in Yarraville, west of Melbourne, for an early birthday celebration.
But after falling ill she decided on Thursday to cancel her booking.
On Friday morning she said she woke to an email from the restaurant informing her she had been charged $1,020 for the cancellation.
‘I saw that they’d charged my card with no additional information,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Lorida Quiambao was left stunned after being charged $1020 for cancelling a restaurant booking
‘They could have at least spoken to me first to explain.’
Ms Quiambao – a project manager – said she understood why restaurants charged cancellation fees as she had previously worked in hospitality.
‘But they charged me the absolute maximum they could have,’ she said.
Navi offers a set menu with ingredients sourced from small producers and local farms.
Ms Quiambao was charged for the restaurant’s $170 set menu six times as she had booked for six people.
She said she had booked Navi after previously having a pleasant dining experience at the restaurant last year.
‘I wanted my friends to experience that too. This is why it’s so frustrating,’ she said.
Restaurant Navi (pictured) has defended its cancellation policy
Ms Quiambao took to social media on Friday to vent her frustration over the experience.
She said no restaurant or business should be allowed to charge such expensive cancellation fees.
‘It’s disgusting and not ok especially in times like this. @restaurantnavi @juleschef this place should feel so ashamed of themselves and honestly guys… do not even risk going here anymore,’ she wrote on Facebook.
Navi chef and owner Julian Hills told Daily Mail Australia that cancellations of bookings for groups of five or more required ‘5 days notice’ and a table of six would take up a quarter of the restaurant’s capacity.
‘Failure to do so may incur a cancellation/no show fee of the full menu price. In light of current circumstances with COVID19 this is not always feasible, but we do ask for as much notice as possible’ he said.
Mr Hills said preparations for some dishes started four days days in advance and that orders from some producers required six weeks’ notice.
‘So to lose 25 per cent of a night’s bookings means a big financial loss for us when margins are small,’ he said.
Ms Quiambao said an email from the restaurant said it required five days’ notice for cancellations
In another message from the restaurant website, Ms Quiambao was told the restaurant required 48 hours notice for cancellations
‘We will be offering one menu for dinner Friday to Saturday, $170 (With Paired Beverages $275) and a Saturday matinee menu, $95 (With Paired Beverages $155).’
Mr Hills said people on the waiting list for a table on Saturday were sent an SMS after Ms Quiambao’s cancellation and that ‘all efforts to fill the spot (and therefore offer a refund to the patron when/if the table is able to be filled as advised) were engaged’.
‘Customers who cancel late are refunded when we are able to fill the cancellation in part (ie a table of four even if the booking was for a table of six) or in full,’ he said.
‘When customers call us we make all efforts to try and action this even faster.’
Mr Hills said he had called Ms Quiambao to advise her of the the restaurant’s policies and processes but she had cut him off without letting him finish.
Ms Quiambao said she had received a call from Mr Hills but she was on her way to the doctor and told him she did not have time to talk.
‘I’ve received no correspondence since and no response to my email asking for a refund.’