Ten handy tips to avoid overcharging in Spanish bars and restaurants

by Lorraine Williamson
restaurants and bars tips

Can prices be higher on a Spanish terrace than inside? Do you have to pay for bread if you didn’t ask for it? And, furthermore, can you ask for free tap water? The Spanish consumer organisation OCU has published a series of tips that are useful to know if you like to visit restaurants and bars in Spain.

The OCU points out a number of items cannot be charged for ‘without this being clearly stated on the menu’.

nederlandse orthopeed

Here are the tips to avoid being overcharged by restaurants and bars:

  • Bars and restaurants may not charge supplements for terrace service unless it is clearly indicated on the menu. 
  •  It is lawful to set a minimum amount for drinks or maximum time on the terrace. But only if the customer is explicitly informed of this when entering the terrace. 
  • Thanks to the OCU, catering establishments are not allowed to charge for tap water or refuse to give customers free tap water.
  • Charging for table service or for cutlery is illegal. It is implicit in the price. An aperitif or bread can be charged if ordered and the price is mentioned. 
  • Fish, meat and seafood whose price is indicated on the menu must have a base or weight to indicate the approximate price.  
  • If a product is offered off the menu, the price must be stated, otherwise the customer may pay the price of a similar dish on the menu. 
  • The prices stated on the menu are deemed to be final and complete, including VAT. If VAT is not included, this must be explicitly stated. 
  • The establishment must provide the customer with a ‘doggy bag’ if he/she wishes to take the rest of the meal with him/her, but may charge for this if indicated. 
  • In the case of advance payment for a table reservation, this amount must be deducted from the final price.  
  • The Catering Establishment is obliged to provide the invoice with details of all products consumed.

Also read: Unusual waiter service charge in Zamora restaurant

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