Judge sides with restaurant in Spain’s Basque Country that fined three diners €510 for failing to turn up

A JUDGE in Spain’s Basque Country has sided with a restaurant after it charged three diners €510 for failing to turn up to their dinner reservation. 

The facts of the case date back to July 2021, when the client in question was staying in the Hotel Villa Favorita, where the Amelia restaurant is located. 

According to court documents seen by Spanish daily El Pais, the man had changed the reservation date for his hotel stay but had forgotten to do so for the dinner at Amelia. 

When he and his two companions arrived for their meal, they were told that the reservation had been for the night before. They were offered the chance to rebook for several weeks later, but opted not to. 

The restaurant then charged the aforementioned amount to the man’s bank account, in line with their restaurant policy. 

‘We host a maximum of 20 people,’ Xabier de la Maza, the manager of the Amelia group, told El Pais. ‘If the client has any kind of problem, we always charge for the reserved menus. But we usually arrange a voucher so that they can come at any time for the rest of the year, and can even give it away as a gift.’

The client in question, however, was unhappy with the charge and opted to take the case to court. He argued that the cancelation policy was not clear when the reservation was made, and that the amount charged was disproportionate. 

Both of those arguments were rejected by the judge. As De la Maza pointed out, the cancelation policy is shown to clients via the website before they can make a reservation. 

The ruling on the case was welcomed by figures within the restaurant sector, with the president of the Madrid Gastronomy Academy, Luis Suárez de Lezo, calling the sentence ‘an important precedent for Spanish hospitality’.

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