Diner agrees to CNY charge, still ends up shocked by how Yishun mala stall calculated $45.60 bill

Submitted by Stomper Poor

Click here to submit a story or submit it to our WhatsApp.

A woman expected eating out to be a costly affair over the Chinese Year period, but getting charged $46.50 for her meal came as a shock anyway.

Stomper Poor and her family visited the $40 million coffee shop at Block 848 Yishun Street 81 for lunch on Feb 11.

The group of four ordered a variety of ingredients from the mala xiangguo stall and were prepared to pay a surcharge, knowing that it was the festive season.

Poor said: "The ingredients are priced at $2.28 per 100g, regardless of whether it's meat, seafood or vegetables.

"I asked the staff if there was a surcharge and one guy said yes. I asked how much and he turned to his colleague to ask and they told me '10%'.

"I thought it was reasonable since it was the second day of the Lunar New Year and pretty much everywhere was imposing a surcharge. I had been prepared for this and was okay to pay a surcharge.

"My family took a mix of ingredients, including veggies, mushrooms, meat, noodles and four bowls of rice.

"Upon making payment, I was shocked that the bill came up to $45.60. Not only did the ingredients cost 10% more at $2.48 per 100g, there was an additional 10% surcharge on the subtotal.

"It's not our first time dining at this stall and the same amount of food usually costs $30+. As we had already taken all the ingredients, we just paid up."

Poor said she felt misled and that the stall should have been clearer about the surcharges if they were going to charge "multiple rounds".

She also noted two recent cases reported on Stomp: One diner was charged a 'top-up fee' per item at a IMM cafe, but there was no surcharge on his subtotal. Another customer had to pay a 10% surcharge for his economic rice, but there was no extra charge for his individual ingredients.

Poor added: "Isn't it normal for me to assume that the surcharge would be imposed on either the ingredients OR the subtotal, not both?

"Seems like you can get fleeced even if you try to be cautious. Guess we have to not only ask before ordering, but also word our questions carefully."