Sprongers - 29-07-2012
I visited this restaurant with my fiancé and our autistic son this evening and were shocked by the attitude of the management. We enjoyed a fairly relaxed lunch here a few weeks ago so when I saw the opportunity to get a groupon voucher for two course meal with fruit wine it seemed like a good deal. I wanted to book the meal as a surprise for my partner and son, so whilst in hospital after having major surgery I used the pubs own website to contact them and reserve a table for three for dinner this evening. When I told my family, they were excited at the chance to have a nice meal together to celebrate my recovery and my sons birthday. When we arrived at the restaurant i gave my name and handed the groupon voucher to the bar staff, then we were seated and given menus. After a few moments the manager came running out asking if we were the family using the groupon voucher. I replied that we were and we're shocked then to be told that because we had booked online and not on the phone, that we had to pay an additional £2.50 per person to cover the booking costs of the table online. We were told that the voucher clearly stated that we had to telephone to reserve a table. We accepted this as we had no reason to doubt what she was telling us, however her aggression to us at the table left our autistic son feeling very on edge and uncomfortable. Not the best start to an evening. My son and fiancé ordered starters and main courses, which were covered on the groupon voucher that we had prepaid for. As I had recently had a major operation I could not manage to eat much so I just ordered myself a starter, and all three of us had desserts and drinks which were paid for in full. Considering we were paying full price for my starter and all our deserts I was cross to see that the three balls of ice cream for £6.00 were absolutely tiny. Each ball of ice cream looked about two inches in diameter. Nothing like the nice sized desert my son had received on our previous visit when he had ordered the same thing. Obviously to an autistic child this was confusing as he was expecting three decent scoops of ice cream. We were very disappointed. When I went to pay the bill I saw that we were being charged for three of us using the groupon deal and booking online at £2.50 each. After some explaining that I wasn't using a groupon voucher at all for my own meal, they eventually removed one of the three charges. However paying an extra £5.00 for booking online is ridiculous and it is a charge only made to groupon customers. It left a rather bitter taste in my mouth to say the least. To make matters worse, on returning home I reprinted my groupon voucher to see the fine print and all it states is that you must contact the merchant in advance, quoting groupon, which I did. I des not specify that this must be by way of a phone call - surely booking a table through the link on their own website is still classed as a form of contact!!!!! I assumed that they had got my voucher confused with another type so I decided to telephone them as soon as I discovered this to give them the opportunity to reimburse my extra charges but all I received was a rather rude, abrupt and very unprofessional response. When I stated I would leave a review on this website I was told that they would get it taken off by saying I didn't dine there. But I am holding onto my receipts to prove it for any website that query this. The idea of the groupon vouchers is to drum up new business. Once you are in the doors it is for the management and staff to convince you to keep returning. They don't seem to have grasped that idea at all and treat you like a second class customer. We dine out several times a week and a quiet country pub is the usual sort of destination we choose. We will not in future be choosing to dine here. Let them rip off other customers.