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The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) warned that restaurants can’t charge for certain things unless it is clearly specified on the menu, such as the terrace supplement or the service charge.
Appetizer and bread
The Spanish consumer rights organization explained some charges require the direct consent of the client, such as appetizers like olives, crisps, or bread.
This is a very common practice in Spain, where holidaymakers are often served bread or olives with their drinks while they wait for the food, but sometimes they find the extra charge added to the bill.
The appetizer can be charged but only if it has been requested and its price is indicated.
Some restaurants charge a small supplement, often around one euro to two euros, to use the terrace.
According to the Organization of Consumers and Users, supplements cannot be charged in bars and restaurants for terrace service, unless it is clearly indicated on the menu.
Restaurants can set a minimum consumption or a maximum time on the terrace, but customers have to be correctly informed first.
Restaurants can’t charge or refuse to give people free tap water, even if they think it doesn’t taste good.
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Bars and restaurants in Spain are not allowed to charge for table service or cutlery unless it is specified in the menu and customers are not required to leave a tip if they don’t wish to do so.
Fish and seafood
The fish, meat and seafood priced on the menu according to the market must always include a price per kg.
This is to allow customers to know the approximate final price.
Items off the menu
If a product is offered off the menu, its price must be informed, otherwise, the customers should pay the price of a similar dish on the menu.
The prices on the menu should be final, with VAT included. If it is not included, it must be indicated.
The establishment must provide bags and boxes to the customers if they wish to take the rest of the food with them.
However, they can charge for these as long as it is informed.
In case an advance payment is requested when holidaymakers book a table, that amount must be deducted from the final bill.
The restaurant must always give a ticket detailing each of the items consumed.
In case holidaymakers have any issues at a restaurant they can ask for a claim form.
If the establishment refuses to provide it, they can ask the police from that city or town to assist them.
The Organization of Consumers and Users also recommended keeping the ticket and always taking a picture of the menu with the prices.
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