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Harvard Prof Flips Over $4 Chinese Food Overcharge

Ben Edelman says the issue is larger, threatens legal action
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2014 8:29 AM CST
Harvard Prof Flips Over $4 Chinese Takeout Overcharge
Sichuan Garden screenshot.

A Boston-area Chinese restaurant charging $1 more per plate than it advertises on its online menu may have served the wrong guy—a Harvard Business School professor specializing in online advertising fraud who wasted no time in pulling out the Massachusetts Consumer Protection Statute and threatening legal action. According to a lengthy email exchange published by the Boston Globe, Ben Edelman is seriously agitated, and though the mom-and-pop shop only overcharged him $4, he says it's the principle. "If you look at my other work ... you'll see I've been pretty diligent in holding large companies accountable for their false statements of price and other attempts to overcharge passengers," he tells Business Insider. "Should all small businesses get a free pass?"

The restaurant, Sichuan Garden, appears to have thus far complied with Edelman's requests, including refunding him $12 (three times what he was overcharged) and updating the online menu to reflect actual prices. Ran Duan, who tends bar at the restaurant for his parents, recently told the Globe: "I personally respond to every complaint and try to handle every situation personally. ... I have worked so hard to make my family proud and to elevate our business. [This exchange] just broke my heart." It just so happens that GQ Magazine featured Duan last month, hailing him as "America's Most Imaginative Bartender." (Speaking of overcharging, Sprint is being accused of padding this bill—to the tune of $21 million.)

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