An American tourist claims she was recently charged nearly $3,000 for a single plate of meat at a restaurant in Jerusalem. While the restaurant's owner said it was an honest mistake, a former employee claims the restaurant has used the same tactic before.
The incident came to light after a plea on the Secret Jerusalem Facebook page late last month.
Laura Ziff wrote on the page: "I need help please. Can someone provide the address for a restaurant right by the Jaffa gate called ‘Old City Shawrma [?]’. That is the name on the receipt that I received. Also if the restaurant possibly has a different name in Hebrew."
She explained that the restaurant's owners had made a mistake and that she was charged $2,900 for a single shawarma (similar to doner kebab) plate.
A receipt of the transaction showed that she was charged 10,100 shekel, which is worth around $2,860.
Ziff explained that the owners had been promising a refund to her credit card, but she still hadn't received anything.
After her post went live, several local media outlets picked up the story.
On Keshet 12’s Morning News program, someone who claimed to work for the restaurant, said that it's not the first time it's happened to tourists, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The former employee claimed: "It works like this: They don’t have a menu. They ask tourists for NIS 80 for a shwarma platter and charge them in Euros or dollars.Sometimes the person notices and catches it, but sometimes he gives you the credit card and then signs. He sees 80; sometime the word ‘dollar’ doesn’t show up. It’s crazy."
Israel's Channel 13 program Hatzinor contacted the owners of the Old City Shwarma Restaurant, who said that the charge was a mistake.
Ziff’s update on Sept. 2 explained: "I have received phone calls and texts from the business owner Hasan and his brother Adam.”
"They both apologized that the refund had not been completed and had been trying to work with their bank,” she wrote. “I contacted my credit card company and they provided some additional information that should assist Adam in making the refund happen very quickly."
The next day, she revealed that a local man had been in touch to help with the refund.
"As of this morning we spoke and he provided proof that the owners of the restaurant have contacted the bank and are in the process of refunding the money,” Ziff detailed. "I absolutely believe him. I am assuming that my next post will say that the funds are in my account and the matter is closed.
"I expect that due to bank issues this may take a few days,” she said.
This story originally appeared in The Sun. Read more content from The Sun here.