Cheesecake Factory Lawsuit Strikes Blow for Cheapskates

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Cheesecake factoryIt's a classic restaurant gamble: The server announces the specials, but doesn't tell you how much they cost. Eager to try something new, you have two choices -- either you can ask for the prices and risk looking like a cheapskate or you can take a chance on something new, but risk getting a nasty surprise when the check comes.

Alan DeCew chose door No. 2. While visiting a Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) in Chestnut Hill, Mass., he took a chance and ordered one of the restaurant's specialty margaritas, in spite of the fact that the server hadn't told him the exact price of his cocktail. But later that evening, he was shocked to discover that his tasty tipple rang up at an exorbitant $11.

Faced with this sort of margarita misery, most patrons would grumble to themselves, vow never to buy another fishbowl-sized Cheesecake Factory cocktail, and swallow their irritation. But DeCew, a staff member at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory, decided to take the war to the Cheesecake Factory. Enlisting the help of his friend, attorney Ross Mitchell, he used the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Act -- which outlaws "unfair or deceptive conduct in the marketplace" -- to demand that the chain post its drink prices.

In this epic battle between the dipsomaniacal David and gustatory Goliath, the little guy won: The Cheesecake Factory has agreed to post its drink prices at its seven Massachusetts restaurants. Having spoken up for the Bay State's closet cheapskates, DeCew is moving on. His attorney, however, will continue to fight the good fight: As he told the Boston Herald, "we're looking at other national chains ... we're going to go after everybody."

Of course, if he really wants to protect consumers, Mitchell might want to take on the Cheesecake Factory's insanely fat-laden menu.

Bruce Watson is a senior features writer for DailyFinance. You can reach him by e-mail at bruce.watson@teamaol.com, or follow him on Twitter at @bruce1971.











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43 Comments

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Wayne Bradshaw

Louis Vuitton Replica Handags usually was manufactured from China ,it is not authourized by louis vuitton .But they will come with the high quality that almost the same materials and handwork,So it is hard to distingush the Repilicas.

May 05 2012 at 11:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
softxsilencex

A a rule. I will not eat at joints that do not put drink prices on the menu. Vote with your feet. Get up and tell the manager why you are leaving check the menu at cheesecakefactorymenu.com

April 02 2012 at 8:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chase5300

RE: lawyers
We just settled a case in Miami against two banks that helped Rothstein with his BILLION dollar fraud. The jury awarded 100 Million bucks to hundreds of paintiffs who were scammed. Guess how much the SINGLE attorney got in this settlement? FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS. Not bad for 6 months of paper-pushing.
Why is this allowed? Because LAWYERS MAKE THE LAWS. 88 percent of legislators are LAWYERS!!

March 01 2012 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
schaff19

Interesting how people abuse the legal system. My parents taught me long ago to ask what it costs. If you don't ask, its your own fault. Of course, these days individual responsibility is out and blame the establishment is in. This country is headed for hell lead by the lawyers of this country.

February 29 2012 at 8:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
schaff19

Interesting how people abuse the legal system. My parents taught me long ago to ask what it costs. If you don't ask, its your own fault. Of course, these days individual responsibility is out and blame the establishment is in. This country is headed for hell lead by the lawyers of this country.

February 29 2012 at 8:10 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Porteratty

Looks like a" 23C" action to me. For non lawyer, that is a class action where the lawyers make all of the money.

February 28 2012 at 9:37 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Porteratty

Looks like a" 23C" action to me. For non lawyer, that is a class action where the lawyers make all of the money.

February 28 2012 at 9:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
georgetroll4

Mr Decew did a very smart thing. We "little guys" have been taking it "on the chin" (especially if we spill it) for many years. It's about time we were TOLD THE COST CLEARLY before we buy something. That drink's contents cost the Factory no more than 50 cents to purchase. What is the mark up even if they tell the TRUTH about the cost??100X

February 28 2012 at 9:13 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to georgetroll4's comment
chapython

Sorry George, you need to go to school. You need to know the price of the alcohol, size (quantify) and the other items that go into the drink. Much more than 50 cents, but not the $11.00

February 29 2012 at 1:30 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
yablum

Not only is the article totally ridiculous and without ANY merit but the plaintiff is the one who should
be sued for frivolous use of the law and the court system. A consumer's duty is to check the cost of
an item/service BEFORE buying/using it. Rather than reaching this evident and constructive conclusion,
the article prefers to defend the moron who did everything to be deceived. Another sad day for news
abuse!

February 28 2012 at 9:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Porteratty

A a rule. I will not eat at joints that do not put drink prices on the menu. Vote with your feet. Get up and tell the manager why you are leaving

February 28 2012 at 9:00 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply