The Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CTIA) has published the results of a recent investigation into Prague dining establishments where English-speakers were charged substantially more than Czech-speaking customers.
According to CTIA spokesperson Jiří Fröhlich, “Different behaviour towards one group of consumers is usually considered discriminative in the area of sale of goods and provision of service.”
Once such place discovered to be charging English-speaking customers inflated prices was EAT ME & DRINK ME in Prague 1, where inspectors ordered a meal in January of this year.
Posing as consumers, the CTIA carried out two inspection purchases, ordering a pancake with ham and cheese and a trdelník with sugar.
In a statement released by the organization it claims that, “In the first case, the purchase was ordered in Czech and the seller billed the declared amount. The pancake with cheese cost 120 CZK, and the trdelník with sugar cost 50 CZK. The total price was 170 CZK.”
English-speaking inspectors were billed 250 CZK for the same meal. (“The pancake with ham and cheese was 200 CZK which was 80 CZK more than the Czech speaking customer paid. The price of the trdelník was the same.”)
A report released today cites the Boulevard Café on Wenceslas Square in Prague for charging English-speaking customers a hidden 80-CZK service fee among other violations.
The agency says it will launch administrative proceedings as a result of its findings; fines of up to 3 million CZK can be imposed for such breaches of law.
Despite these most recent cases, the authority says that instances where foreign restaurant guests were billed an extra “service fee” are on the decline, according to their research.
However, Mojmír Bezecný, the Director General of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority warns that, “It is still necessary to pay attention to the issue in order to eliminate cases of consumer discrimination in the future.”
In the meantime, what can you do if you feel like you have been ripped off for speaking English?
The English-friendly CTIA site is a good place to start. You can read more on the scope of their authority and lodge a complaint here.