Pasta plus a glass of wine costs £1,246 in euro mix-up

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The Independent Online

The pasta was fine and the wine perfectly acceptable. The only problem for a Briton eating in a Paris restaurant was when he asked for l'addition and got a bill for £1,246.

The perils of dining out in Euroland manifested themselves when Tony Jeffers, a sports presenter, joined two colleagues for a late supper in an Italian restaurant this week.

Consumers have been getting to grips with exchange rates since the currency was introduced on New Year's Day amid fears of retailers using the handover to raise prices. Few, however, would have expected the sort of inflation that was experienced at Le Patio restaurant last Monday.

Having enjoyed a plate of tagliatelle with fresh salmon, washed down with a glass of white wine, in the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux, Mr Jeffers, 35, agreed to share the bill with his friends. It was only when he returned to his flat in the French capital that the presenter, who works for the television station Eurosport, realised he had been charged €1,970 – or £1,246.

Mr Jeffers said: "It was an honest mistake. We were expecting to pay €19.70 each, or about £12.50. I didn't realise until afterwards when I looked at the receipt just what had happened. I know Paris supposed to be expensive but £1,250 for a plate of pasta and some wine? That's ridiculous.

"The waiter forgot to put the decimal point in the right place. With francs it often wasn't necessary to put in a decimal point but with the euro you have to. People are still learning."

The glitch took place despite one of the group, fellow commentator Wayne Boyce, 30, of Southampton, having spotted moments earlier that he had also originally been charged €19,700. The transaction was only rejected because the limit on Mr Boyce's credit card meant his bank's computer had refused to authorise the payment.

Mr Boyce said: "Having the limit on my card has caused me problems in the past but this time it really saved my bacon." After contacting the restaurant the following day, staff apologised to Mr Jeffers, from Birmingham.

A spokesman for the restaurant said: "It was an unfortunate mistake which we corrected immediately. We would be pleased to offer the gentleman a meal free of charge – and bill."

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